Batman Adam West: Pro Wrestler and Pro Boxer!

I still find it weird that I am friends, yes I said it, friends with Vince Russo. If you had told me twenty years ago when I was tearing his absurd wrestling characters and storylines apart on a seemingly weekly basis that we’d be doing a regular show and laughing while doing it, I’d have channeled my inner William S. Sessions and told you winners don’t use drugs.

I’m not the only one that remembers that, right?

There are reasons of course that Russo and I get along. I think one of the funniest is something he sent me years ago and it meant so much to me that I kept it as a screenshot from the first day he sent it.

That’s me – UNHATEABLE. In ALL CAPS no less so you know it’s good.

Of course, these days we do a show covering the 1966 Batman TV series, going through it episode by episode and breaking it down. It’s a passion for both of us as it is so delightfully fun and campy that I find it impossible to believe anyone would not enjoy it. Come to think of it, Batman 66 isn’t that far removed from pro wrestling. Why just imagine the fun we could have if those two worlds could collide somehow!

Amazingly enough, they did, in of all places Memphis! In town to promote a car show, Batman (and yes, that was indeed Adam West!) shows up in the studio to be interviewed by Dave Brown. He tells the children at home he did something very bad – he “SNEAKED IN” to the studio. But he did so for a good reason, as he is working on a case which is why he’s not wearing his “complete outfit”. It’s hard to see from the screenshot here, but while West is of course wearing the cowl, it appears that he has a jogging top on in lieu of the costume from the Batcave. Scoff if you want, but that’s true to the original version of the character.

Anyway, Batman tells us he is in Memphis as he believes that Mr. Freeze and Penguin are in town as they are in cahoots with a HOOK UP, the EVIL KING OF MEMPHIS. And yes, that is exactly who you think it is, as we get a face off between Batman and…


But he’s not just King Jerry Lawler, he’s SUPER KING Jerry Lawler, complete with an absurd costume of his own. Batman calls foul on this impostor, noting “that costume was stolen from a friend of mine, SUPE. Superman, I call him SUPE. I think that Spider-Man, SPIDEY BABY, would object too!

But this being Batman, he doesn’t give up hope on the evil king of Memphis. “I don’t think it’s too late for you. I think that possibly, if you changed some of your habits, some of your methods of wrestling, if you used the left and right turn indicator in your car, did other things people normally do when they are polite and courteous and you weren’t such a naughty, mean person, it wouldn’t be too late for you!”

And just like that, Adam West has created THE BEST PRO WRESTLING ANGLE EVER. One that sadly never culminated in a match, as this was just to promote a car show in Memphis. But since I don’t want you to feel like I didn’t provide some in-ring action in this induction…

…let’s head back to the original series itself and witness a BOXING MATCH between Batman and The Riddler! This battle of fisticuffs took place in the episode “Ring Around The Riddler” as part of season three. For the uneducated, this was when things started to go really off the rails for the show’s run, as Batgirl (Yvonne Craig) was brought in to help appeal to the girls at home who may not be watching. Other changes were made as well, namely nixing the two show format that had been around since the very beginning and more importantly, some massive, massive budget cuts.

On the plus side, we got Frank Gorshin back as The Riddler, who had missed a two parter in season two only to be replaced by John (Gomez Addams) Astin. Here Riddler has concocted a scheme by which he is going to take over the world of professional boxing and make it somehow even more corrupt. As if. Anyway, he yanks a girl by the hair (!!!!) and also has a flashing box that I am pretty sure was ripped off completely in Batman Forever with Jim Carrey. I’d go back and check but that would force me to watch Batman Forever again, and ain’t no way I’m doing that.

Riddler’s scheme unfolds as he kidnaps several top heavyweights, including local legend Kid Gulliver, which is an awesome wrestling name. Why has no one ever used that?

With the top contenders dropping like flies, we are introduced to Mushy Nebuchadnezzer, ‘”Southwestern Asia’s unchallenged champion and also one of the most colorful prizefighters in the world.” He gets Batman on the phone and calls him a chicken. Not only that, he has his phone line connected to the local radio station so all of Gotham City has heard him called out!

But if there’s one thing we know about Batman, it’s that he’s no coward! So he will head to the ring and take on Mushy in Gotham Square Garden tonight!

So Batman comes to the ring and HOLY SMOKES is that the most ghetto looking ring I’ve ever seen. I remember back in my indy days I worked in some horrendous rings in front of dinky crowds, but I don’t think even RD Reynolds, heel manager, ever experienced something that bad.

But Batman isn’t coming to the ring alone, no way. He has not only Robin in his corner but also Alfred, who insists on being called GUS so as to not put their secret identities in jeopardy. To be fair, he didn’t really need to do that, as if someone noticed the similarity he could have just said that was probably his brother EGBERT (!!!) who also appeared a couple times on the show.

We get ready for the fight, but not before Riddler uncorks another brainteaser to his nemesis: “What eats crow, cries uncle, and tosses sponges?” Batman knows of course: “A loser – and I’m not a loser, Riddler!!!”

The fight begins and Riddler is naturally completely overmatched. Heck even Batman noted that he was smaller than Robin! Before Batman even lands a blow, Riddler is on rubber leg street in an absolutely incredible display of physical comedy.

Unthwarted, Riddler distracts Batman with a Popeye punch, but the blow itself wasn’t designed to do any real damage. Instead, it’s a distraction so Riddler can cover Batman with metal shavings. You may think this would have no effect but…

…Riddler’s femme fatale, Betsy Boldface, is hiding under the ring with a giant magnet (whilst smoking a cigarette no less)!

This of course causes Batman to be stuck in place, allowing Riddler to jump high in the air and beat his foe over the head like he’s at Chuck E. Cheese playing Whack a Mole. I truly, sincerely hope that the next time Mox throws a bunch of tacks in the ring, Wheeler Yuta is hiding underneath the ring with a giant magnet as his buddy picks up a win as his opponent is magnetized to the mat.

Unfortunately for the Riddler, his advantage doesn’t last long however, as Batgirl shows up and catches Betsy in the act, taking the magnet out of commission.

As a good heel should, Riddler turns to taunt the crowd before spinning to deliver the knockout blow. Realizing Batman is no longer a sitting duck, he takes off as fast as humanly possible out of the ring.

Sadly for Riddler, he winds up trapped in his lair, KO’ed by Alfred (err, Gus) with a bowling pin. With his last breath, he gives Batman one more question: “What do you throw away that keeps returning?” Batman smiles and says that it of course a boomerang. “Correct,” Riddler explains, “And I’m a boomerang. And I shall be back.”

But we never got that rematch; this was Riddler’s last appearance and the show was canceled for good at the end of season three.

And while didn’t get a wrestling match on the show, we did get one in the comics featuring a luchador named…nah, you gotta wait for that one. 😉

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