Induction: The Heathcliff Wrestling Episode — CAAATFIIIIIGHT!

9 Submitted by on Thu, 06 October 2022, 20:00

Cartoon, 1984

This week’s induction involves a fat orange cartoon cat and a wrestling match.

“But RD already did the Garfield wrestling episode just a few months ago!” I hear you protest.

And you’re right. So, I guess there’s no induction this week. See you in a fortnight!

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But, it turns out, there’s another cartoon cat who has yet to grace the hallowed halls of WrestleCrap: Heathcliff.

In fact, for the dueling cartoon cats, WrestleCrap is just about the only place Garfield where arrived before Heathcliff.

When it comes to the funny pages, or Emily Brönte novels, or television, Heathcliff beat Garfield to the punch by years:

Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats premiered in 1984. The series was produced by DIC (that’s, uh, pronounced, “deek”) and revolved around the title cat and his gang of cat friends created for the TV show. As such, it bore little resemblance to the contemporary Heathcliff comic…

…let alone the incomprehensible modern Heathcliff comic, which has spawned its own Twitter subculture.

(One of these is a real Heathcliff strip)

And yes, Heathcliff’s show even had a wrestling episode before Garfield did. And it was episode damn one.

The show begins with Heathcliff costing Hector a game of Go Fish with some bad advice…

…which somehow results in Heathcliff chasing after Hector and not the other way around.

The two cats end up running into the entourage of Boom Boom Pussini, the champion wrestler.

When Pussini’s manager hears that Heathcliff is the toughest cat in town, he has an idea. First, he asks Hector if he knows how Pussini wins his matches. Hector immediately bends over right in from of the champion…

…and demonstrates wrestling holds — holds like the the bear hold, the reverse finger hold, and the lip lock. I’m starting to wonder what kind of wrestling this “Boom Boom Pussini” practices. The name is suspect enough.

“But do you know how he really wins?” asks the manager.

“Are you kidding?” says Hector. “Of course I know!”

Thinking Hector is smart to the business, the manager sets up a two-out-three-falls match between Boom Boom and Heathcliff. But what Hector meant is that he knows about Pussini’s secret finishing move, the double-whammy scissor hold. 

Before you know it, Heathcliff’s idiot friends build him a ring in his backyard. Or a backyard, anyway. Humans have yet to appear in the series, and I don’t know how property ownership works in the cat world.

The ring itself is pretty pathetic, with no canvas, tires for turnbuckles, and a single rope…

…but never mind that s**t — here comes Mungo! That’s the big, stupid cat who is supposed to train with Heathcliff.

While testing out the ring rope, Heathcliff accidentally catapults himself into Mungo, pinning him in the process.

Wordsworth, the effeminate cat who speaks in verse, makes the three-count:

“One, two, three,
You’re out, says me”

Satisfied, Cliff calls it a day and takes a nap.

Meanwhile in town, Boom Boom Pussini flirts with Sonya, Heathcliff’s favorite girl. Understandably, he’s outraged to find his opponent trying to score with his cat crush. I’m sure there’s a risqué feline pun to made here.

Is this it?: “He thinks she’s the cat’s meow

Newly motivated, Heathcliff heads back to his training…

…where he grabs Mungo by the tail, spins him around, and flings him out of the ring like Mario 64.

So long, Gay Bowser!

I should note that, while Heathcliff is voiced by Mel Blanc (in one of his final roles), the animation is nowhere near the quality of Looney Tunes.

Mungo’s agonized screams draw the attention of a passing dog, who peers over the fence out of curiosity. Immediately, Heathcliff pulls him over the fence and makes him his new training partner.

Actually, he somehow pulls him around the fence, even though the backyard is fully enclosed. Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder!

Heathcliff pins the dog, while Wordsworth recites the same couplet as before.

Boom Boom Pussini is now worried that an angry Heathcliff is going to beat him for real, so his manager talks with Hector again to make sure he plays ball. Discovering that Heathcliff’s manager is a total mark, Pussini’s guy smartens Hector up and threatens reprisal if Heathcliff doesn’t take a dive.

It’s now time for the big two-out-three falls match at the Catatorium, whose ring again has only one rope. I guess it takes 1/3 the effort to animate.

Heathcliff shoots on Boom Boom, but his own manager tries to sabotage him. First, he glues his shoes to the mat…

…but Heathcliff slips out and hits Pussini with a Double Canadian Destroyer.

Hector then tries oil, which causes the two wrestlers to pinball around the ring. 

After Hector confesses to trying to throw the match, Heathcliff goes right back to shooting on “that phony wrestler”. For his part, Pussini is too busy running from Heathcliff to take offense to the PH-word.

Heathcliff launches Boom Boom twenty feet in the air, then pins him the wrong way around, Kamala-style.

Regardless, Wordsworth makes the count — and a fast count, at that!

Even though this match was billed as a best-of-three-falls affair, Heathcliff’s buddy immediately awards him the match and the title, an incident known as the Westfinster Screwjob. 

Heathcliff then chases after his own manager after he books the new champ to wrestle the following week. 

Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats would run for 85 more episodes, but not a single one featured a title defense, meaning the title character was likely stripped of his title. What a downer. 

Written by

Art has been writing inductions for WrestleCrap since 2012. He also writes reviews of old Monday Night Raws, posted here every other Sunday. You can find his old reviews at the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
9 Responses to "Induction: The Heathcliff Wrestling Episode — CAAATFIIIIIGHT!"
  1. CP says:

    I knew Gay Bowser would show up.

  2. Christopher Haydu says:

    Great induction, Art. I have to know, will the Ren & Stimpy episode where they wrestle Lump and Loaf ever be inducted? Personally, I think it’s one of the funniest Ren & Stimpy episodes ever, so I wouldn’t call it crap. What say you?

    • Thomas Moffatt says:

      The flying butt pliers was the most awesome move ever executed. Any wrestler able to perform that move would automatically become my favourite of all-time.

  3. Jimbolian says:

    I always thought of Heathcliff as the first anime I watched.

  4. Hayley says:

    Heathcliff. I’m so old for me to remember this episode while I was always sitting in my aunt’s chair and watching these cartoons as a small fart in the mid-80’s.

  5. Jeb says:

    Heathcliff also appears to be the first member of Los Ingobernables if his ring attire is any indication.

  6. Statistician says:

    STATISTICALLY…

    This is the 7th induction from 1984 (the last year of the Pre-Crap era) and the first one not to come from an actual wrestling show.
    Sure, Heathcliff beat Garfield to having a cartoon episode based on wrestling by a span of about eight years. But does he have a hit Eurodance album called “Be Cool, Cat”? I think not. Garfield wins again.
    That ring… I’ve seen better ring construction in some backyard feds. Or at Wrestle Queerdom. I hope that show doesn’t get inducted. It was run in the shittiest carniest way, but it was actually really enjoyable.
    The finisher that Heathcliff uses in his first victory was flagrantly stolen from Rayo de Jalisco Jr., who made the off-the-ropes battering ram his speciality. Maybe Rayo came up with it by accident as well. So many great moves were invented by accident (DDT, powerbomb, Canadian Destroyer, some others I think).
    Speaking of, you should probably induct Rayo’s match with Blue Demon Jr. at the Monterrey TripleMania this year. That match stunk.
    Thank you for giving respect to Kamala for creating the “has no idea how to pin someone” spot. So many people credit it to Cameron these days.
    I think we’ve run out of animations featuring talking animals and wrestling at this point. At least, I hope so.

    Tune in next time for more “oil wrestling” involving actual crude oil

  7. CP says:

    So outta sheer curiosity I went back and watched this episode. It’s available on Paramount+, if you have it. (It isn’t actually the first episode, it’s the 48th. The first is actually about an opera singer cat that also happens to be named Pussini, but the less said about this the better.)

    Several observations.

    -the animation was cheap even by DIC standards of the era, and it hasn’t aged any better 38 years later.
    -Mel Blanc’s Heathcliff voice is way too close to his Bugs Bunny voice. The only thing different is the pitch. I didn’t notice this until now and I watched Heathcliff reruns a lot as a kid.
    -The reason why Hector is running away is because apparently Heathcliff rules the roost.
    -I can’t unsee the Mario scene now, thanks Art. I said “so long gay Mungo” when he got tossed.
    -the second half of the episode (the Catillac Cats cartoon) is even more brain dead than this is. At least with Garfield and Friends (which is surprisingly not on Paramount+, despite the property being owned by Paramount now), they had a better second act.

  8. Paul Sebert says:

    Actually Heathclifff does have another wrestling episode as there’s a brief wrestling match at the end of the episode “Spike’s Cousin.” So he does have at least one title defense under his belt.

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