As the 20th Century was coming to a close, Fox Television Network decided to produce a television special in which a lie detector would be used to ascertain the truth (inadmissable in court) by asking the questions they felt weighed on the minds of the nation:
1) Did James Nichols have a role in the Oklahoma City bombing?
2) Did Mark Fuhrman plant the bloody glove to frame OJ Simpson?
3) Was Tonya Harding aware of the plot to sabotage Nancy Kerrigan’s figure skating ability?
But of course, there was one question that topped all of these other vital questions on a grand scale….
“Is Pro Wrestling Fake?”
There’s something about the world of professional wrestling that most major television networks and media outlets feel compelled to ridicule, perhaps more than any other facet of sports or entertainment. “You know it’s fake, right?” seems to overtake the larger issues of physical and mental wellness issues in the wrestling business. Despite the fact that Vince McMahon publicly came out in the 80s and said wrestling is pre-determined spectacle to entertain fans and with the availability of “dirt sheet” newsletters like Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer and Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Torch to report on the inner machinations of the business, there are *some* members of the wrestling community that refuse to drop the veil of kayfabe.
The individual selected for this primetime special to speak for wresting’s real athletic competition is none other than…
Captain Lou Albano!
Because, you know, when you need someone to “defend the honor” of pro wrestling, you want LOU ALBANO.
Now to be fair, let me back up for a moment by saying Captain Lou is no doubt a legend of Wrestling (he was my dad’s favorite) and widely considered one of the best heel managers in Vince McMahon Sr’s WWWF along with Classy Freddie Blassie and The Grand Wizard, with his own “golden era” being the Rock N’ Wrestling Era with Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper.
Throughout the years, Lou has held onto the conviction that wrestling is real competition where guys wrestle each other for titles, referees are easily distracted by outside interference and The Undertaker really rose to Heaven and then hung around a children’s playground for a few months, where he met his future girlfriend Michelle McCool (HEY-OOO!). But back to Lou, who has also been noted in recent years for….well, being NUTS.
And we got to see said nuttiness in all its insanity-ridden spectacle thanks to this Fox special.
This Fox LIE DETECTOR special.
Still not excited?
What if I mentioned that this show was hosted by none other than former Los Angeles prosecuting attorney Marcia Clark.
“Marcia Clark…Marcia Clark…” I hear your muttering, perhaps stroking your imaginary beard as you ponder just where you have heard that name before.
I’ll spare you a few brain cells (and your fingers a few clicks as you do a Google search) and inform you that Clark was the woman who completely botched the OJ Simpson case because she and her assistant prosecutor Christopher Darden were busy gettin’ it awn behind the scenes instead of convincing jurors of OJ’s really obvious guilt.
Could YOU come up with a better choice to host a lie detector special?
Didn’t think so!
After showing a few select WWF clips of the “spectacle”, Marcia sits down to chat with Captain Lou before the polygraph is administered. She asks him why anyone would want to become a pro wrestler and Lou says the market for wrestling is huge, claiming that the WWF television shows are seen by, and I quote, “500 million people a week”.
FIVE-HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!
Dude, did you add up every person that ever flipped the channel past a wrestling show in the past 20 years?
Now I did some research and found out the most widely watched television show in history, the final episode of M*A*S*H* had about 106 million viewers, roughly 77% of the viewing audience the night it aired.
Already we’re off to a great truthy start.
Marcia then notes how violent wrestling is and “what kind of message does that send to teens?”
Here we go, the whole “teenagers will go and commit violence because of wrestling” argument. I’ve watched many hours of wrestling and horror movies. If that statement was true, I’d be serving about 50 consecutive life sentences at this point.
Marcia then asks if he ever participated in a fixed wrestling match and Lou says anyone who beat him in the ring really beat him legit and says he’s going to put his reputation on the line and “the machine would have to be a liar to catch him off guard”.
Umm, did anyone explain to him what a polygraph was? I think he believes it to be some type of wacky super intelligent hypnosis mind-reading trickery machine.
(Note from RD: If Fox had marketed this show as “The Wacky Super Intelligent Hypnosis Mind-Reading Trickery Machine Show”, I bet they would have had 500 million viewers too.)
Next we see Lou hooked up to the polygraph with the exam taking place in the ring (of course) and administered by a guy who looks like the uptight conservative college dean from an 80s frat house sex comedy.
(Note from Homer: I hate that crusty old Dean Bitterman!)
He asks Lou a sample question to test the machine, “are you sitting down?”
“I’M NOT GONNA LIE!!! I mean, yes”.
The tester asks if Lou ever participated in a wrestling match where the results were pre-determined. Lou nods “yes” but answers “no”. I’m no body language expert but I’d say this was a telling sign of Lou’s deception.
Wasn’t there ANYONE in Lou’s family that said to him, “this isn’t a good idea, don’t embarrass yourself”?
The test is over very quickly (basic “is wrestling pre-determined?” questions) and Marcia comes out and asks Lou if he wants to find out the results of his polygraph.
As you can see by the look on Lou’s face, he’s confident he’ll be proven right FINALLY and stop all those smart alecks with their “wrestling is fake” hogwash.
As suspenseful “the boogeyman is coming to get you” music plays in the background, Marcia says what we all knew and what I doubt was a huge shocker to the 14 people watching, Lou LIED.
Lou then proceeds to FLIP OUT, cutting the greatest promo of his life in which he accuses THE MACHINE of lying and threatens legal action.
Marcia, for her part, simply watches on with a smug “I just exposed wrestling to you stupid fans” smile on her face.
“Even when told he’s lying, Captain Lou’s reaction is larger than life”.
I believe that’s carnie for “this raving old guy with small elves living in his beard is totally insane and embarrassing himself on national television. Now, let’s get onto that Tonya Harding situation…”
For the love of Thesz please do not show her wedding night video.
I should note that this was a stellar period in the life of one Louis Albano, as it was around this time he not only wrote possibly the single worst book on wrestling in history, but he also served as the GM of the Heroes of Wrestling PPV, wherein Lou babbled incoherently while claiming that PPV was the greatest wrestling show ever as Jake Roberts drunkily molested a woman at ringside and stumbled around the ring waving a snake between his legs.
Yes, like it was his weiner.
Now there’s an idea…I wonder if Jake Roberts has ever been hooked up to a polygraph?
Marcia Clark: “Captain Lou, we now have the results of your polygraph examination. Are you ready to hear the results?”
Lou Albano: “Yes!”
Clark: “Our results have shown that when you said you did not participate in a wrestling match that was fixed, you were lying.”
Albano (completely insane): “THE MACHINE IS A LIAR!”
Clark: “Even when told he’s lying, Captain Lou’s reaction is larger than life. Our results have shown that Captain Lou Albano did participate in a pro wrestling match that was fixed.”
Albano (about to blow an artery): “I don’t believe that, I’m gonna cut you off, that machine is a liar! I did not participate in any match that was fixed!”