INDUCTION: All Star Rock n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular – 80’s Child Nostalgia Overload!

21 Submitted by on Thu, 15 September 2022, 20:00

1985, CBS

From time to time, I’ve heard pro wrestling called a cartoon come to life. With today’s induction, there’s no arguing with that analogy. But for once, it’s not just the old Hulk Hogan’s Rock & Wrestling animated series we’ll be discussing, but rather an hour-long special that aired promoting the 1985 fall Saturday morning cartoon block for CBS.

And if you’re a child of the 1980’s, let me tell you – this is the stuff dreams are made of.

I guess first I should explain some of the terminology I’ll be using today, because if you weren’t around in 1985 when this thing first hit, you’ll likely be scratching your head on a few things. So for those of you under the age of, I dunno, 80 or whatever I am these days, here we go:

  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Block: Once upon a time, way back in the dark ages, the youth of America couldn’t watch whatever they wanted on their phones or tablet or whatever other piece of tech kids use today. No, the boys and girls would get cartoons either in reruns on weekday afternoons, or better yet, on Saturday mornings. My made up (but most likely correct) logic was that kids would be up and ready to be entertained while their parents were sleeping off hangovers they wound up with after a bender at Bob’s Country Bunker the night before. To surmise, Saturday morning = kids’ prime time.
  • Rock & Wrestling: MTV (Music Television) was still a fairly new network in 1985, but it was creating mega stars galore to the adoring fans watching. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, and more were introduced to viewers with sometimes artistic and sometimes awful music videos. It was the land where Cyndi Lauper became a superstar; her anthem Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was on constant rotation. You couldn’t escape it. She wound up in a pro wrestling angle with Captain Lou Albano and Roddy Piper and the rest is history – it captured everyone’s imagination and led to the first WrestleMania, as well as the Hogan cartoon I mentioned earlier.

That’s probably a pretty good primer, so let’s hit the ground running.

And this kicks off with a bang before it even stars as we get…the CBS SPECIAL PRESENTATION SWIRLING RAINBOW LOGO.

I almost feel like I need a smoke after watching that.

CBS would bust that out every once in a while and it always meant something awesome was about to take place. Could be It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Maybe it was Rudolph’s Shiny New Year. Possibly that Christmas cartoon with the mice that only I remember. But good times were always ahead.

Good times like this one! Rest assured, this was a VERY special presentation, as while it featured cartoons that would be shown on Saturday morning, this event actually aired on FRIDAY night. It was something to really get those kids out of their minds and likely unable to sleep with excitement over what was going to start just twelve or so hours ahead.

Likely to keep adults also interested, CBS wheeled out some major names for this spectacular, including, but not limited to…

…Herve Villechaize!

How on earth have the past two inductions I’ve written somehow featured Tattoo from Fantasy Island?

I’ve been running this site for 22 (TWENTY TWO!!!) years, and I don’t think I have EVER even mentioned him (). Now all of a sudden, he’s like a running gag.

He was to be the host of the entire event, but someone else had other ideas.

So get ready to say please and thank ya to our NEW host…

“ROWDY” RODDY PIPER!

And he’s not alone, as he’ll be joined by other mainstays such as Patti LaBelle, New Edition, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Pee Wee Herman.

Oh and Hulk Hogan and Captain Lou Albano are also there.

Seriously, though, do you care about other pro wrestlers when we’re getting Kareem and PEE WEE FREAKING HERMAN?

Piper didn’t either, as he was handed a cue card that has Hogan’s name on it, which he promptly tears to shreds.

Good for him, that guy was getting enough attention then as it is. Plus I don’t think I could have taken a full hour of Hogan calling the Wuzzles his “brothers” or Baby Fozzie “Jack.”

Piper is in front of a full studio awesome (whom he lovingly refers to as “peasants”) and starts us out with a full Tonight Show style monologue. In it we learn the network was looking for someone to host and they reached out to three people: Sylvester Stallone (crowd cheers), Bruce Springsteen (same), and Piper (massive boos). He tells us that he was the one chosen since he could be trusted to talk to Pee Wee. Also he stole rubber bands from Lou Albano, Kareem was eating basketballs, and New Edition were mowing his lawn.

To you and me, it’s a typical Piper promo.

For any non-wrestling fan who were witnessing this madman rambling off the rails for five minutes straight?

Well, they probably just kept flipping channels.

Which would be too bad.

Following the opening and a brief pitch to a clip of the music video Goonies R Good Enough, Piper moves to his throne (complete with tartan covering!) and is joined by Gary Owens, most famous for being the voice of Laugh In, a show that’s impossibly even older than I am. We might have to bring in Papa Vince Russo to tell us more about him on the next Joker’s Mustache.

Kareem is our first guest, and the two share a couple of good natured barbs, with Jabbar deadpanning “Herve, you’ve grown!” After a few moments of breaking the ice, Kareem asks Piper if he can ask him a question.

Piper: “Sure, go right ahead.”

Kareem: “You won’t get offended?”

Piper: “Between pros like you and me champ, go ahead!”

Kareem: “Well…who are you?”

Piper stares right into the camera, no doubt thinking, “If I attack this man on live television, how many years will I get?”

Before things can get too out of hand, Kareem wants to offer up a clip from the new cartoon, The Berenstain Bears.

“In this clip,” Kareem notes, “Papa has just decided to take up kite flying.”

And sure enough, that’s what we get.

I will say this: if I ever had even a 1% interest in watching this show, Kareem telling me the primary plot you are going to feature, the selling point if you will, is about kite flying just dropped that to .00000000000000001%.

That sounds atrocious, even by terrible 80s Saturday morning cartoon standards.

Kareem makes it up to us as he leaves…

…he hits Piper right in the head with a basketball.

Ok, a show where random NBA stars pelt Piper with basketballs, that I would watch.

Piper in a dunk tank would also be must see viewing.

Backstage, Herve is still trying to get to the stage, beating on doors left and right.

I’d like to think everyone saw him coming in that mariachi outfit or whatever it is and immediately triple bolted the doors.

We get some interaction with the crowd next, and Piper meets up with Nessbaum and Salvatore, who happen to be in the Roddy Piper fan club. Roddy is thrilled of course, and doesn’t even insult them. It seems like he is truly humbled to have these geeks cheering him on. “We’ve seen all your fights,” they tell us, “and also know all the people who are scared to fight you!”

Speaking of, let’s hear now from Hulk Hogan…

…on tape.

Those guys are right – he is scared of Piper!!

In a weird moment, as this is a pre-tape, the whole time he talks about how happy is to be on the show hosted by Herve. “He’s not as tall as I am, but he’s working out to be as wide!”

We are introduced to clips of the cartoon, and in hindsight it has some truly horrible art.

I mean, it’s not so horrible I won’t shill for an old induction of it, but it’s pretty bad.

Like Roddy Piper Fart Smell Look bad.

New Edition is out next, singing and dancing in glorious red tuxedos.

I remember every band from the 1980s and with a gun to my head, I could not tell you one song these guys sing.

They join Roddy on the set for a chat. Gotta love that Piper has his fancy chair and half these guys have to sit on the floor. They also balk that Piper gets catering and they don’t. Roddy gives them some sage advice: “There’s a pop machine down the hallway – go get something if you want it!”

He also gives them each a picture of himself, which they proceed to tear in half.

In hindsight, Piper was right to not share the food. What a bunch of ingrates.

We are then given a clip of the show Wuzzles, which is somehow the second thing in a row from the 1980’s of which I have absolutely zero recollection. To be fair, I’d have been 16 at the time so I’m giving myself a pass from watching a cutesy pie kid show like this.

Next up, we get King Lear starring Roddy Piper and Lou Albano.

Really. I’m not making this up.

And if you think I am…

…Roddy gives us a soliloquy, wherein he cuts a medieval promo on a skull he named “Hogan”.

In his defense, they do have the same hairline.

Lou says he has someone who is even more menacing than Hogan and brings out…

PEE WEE HERMAN!

I’ve never done LSD, but I gotta believe if I did, nothing I would witness could possibly compare to the utter insanity witnessed here.

In fact, let’s just put the whole segment up on YouTube, pray no one yanks it off there, and splice it in here.

HOLY SMOKES.

And if THAT wasn’t enough…

…we also now have a GIF of Roddy Piper and Pee Wee Herman working together on a SOCK PUPPET ACT.

At any other time, on any other planet, Baby Fozzie is king.

Here?

Not even in the ball park.

Let’s see, what else do we have?

Well, we get Lou Albano breaking a chair then kicking his feet in the air like one of those turtles who gets knocked over in the original Mario Bros. game…

…clips of Land of the Lost (oh yes!)…

Charlie Brown & Snoopy, and finally the greatest cartoon in the history of man…

Dungeons & Dragons!!!!

No joke that is my favorite cartoon of all time and nothing else is even in the ballpark. I want to finish this induction up in a hurry so I can go binge the entire series again for the 43rd time.

Before I can do that though, I have to tell you that Patti LaBelle does in fact appear. Not only that, but we get the following dance quartet:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Patti LaBelle, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Pee Wee Herman, and Roddy Piper dancing together in what may be the single most 1980’s animated GIF you will ever find.

That really, really should have been the end of the show, but we power on with…

…the winner of a Cyndi Lauper lookalike contest (who comes out to the masturbation anthem She Bop on this children’s show!)…

…and the real Cyndi Lauper with Herve in tow.

I was never much of a Cyndi fan, but she is an absolute smokeshow here. That blonde hair makes all the difference, baby.

She tells everyone that this awful show Piper did is over and they are going to re-record the whole thing in the studio next door, causing a mass exodus of folks running of the exit.

Except for two folks.

Glad to see everyone got a happy ending here…Roddy included.

And the world at large as well, because we can all now share this until the end of time.

Keep on crappin’, y’all!

Written by

Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
21 Responses to "INDUCTION: All Star Rock n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular – 80’s Child Nostalgia Overload!"
  1. Frank Gannucci says:

    Cyndi in that picture, looks like Taylor Swift.

  2. Statistician says:

    STATISTICALLY….

    This is the 19th entry into the annals of WrestleCrap to come from 1985. The beginning of the WrestleCrap era has been strengthened.
    Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, contained in this special, has been inducted twice, one for the overall series, and one for the “Gorilla My Dreams” episode.
    This is the 5th induction concerning something Roddy Piper did during his WWF run. Compared to feuding with Morton Downey Jr., or donning blackface for a rubbish match with Bad News Brown, this was pretty mild.
    Did the Berenstain Bears ever reference wrestling? If they did, you should definitely induct it.
    On a personal note: I watched this one recently, and I feel it’s a little unfair, given that the best parts of this were the ones involving actual wrestlers.

    Tune in next time for further cartoon ads.

    • RD Reynolds says:

      Thanks as always my friend!

    • Al Boondy says:

      “Did the Berenstain Bears ever reference wrestling?”

      As a matter of fact, they did!

      In the book “The Berenstain Bears and No Guns Allowed” (yes that it the actual title) one of Brother Bear’s friends starts acting out at school, and it’s revealed that he’s been watching a TV show called GRAPPLEMANIA:

      ” It’s not even real wrestling, it’s show wrestling with a lot of pumped-up monsters yelling and screaming and name-calling.”

      • Statistician says:

        I did not expect this sort of obscure knowledge of a kids’ book series in the WrestleCrap comments section

      • Stephen Connor says:

        Said friend, Milton Chubb, was actually a wrestler himself, and it was a plot point in several books–the book that introduced him had him being pushed around by Too-Tall and mocked for his country bumpkin appearance, until he revealed he was quite good at one sport: “rasslin\'”.

        His first appearance had him slam Too-Tall and every member of his gang one after the other in the ring.

        • Al Boondy says:

          Was Milton just an amateur wrestling in school (high school?) … or is there somewhere where he actually joins the pros?

  3. Nomangang says:

    I assure you that you are not the only one that remembers the Christmas cartoon with the mice. Now I’m gonna have “Even a Miracle Needs a Hand” stuck in my head.

  4. DJ Pat says:

    OMG the Christmas special with the mice! YES! I thought I was the only one as EVERYBODY I talk to about it has no clue what I’m talking about.

    From what I remember, a young mouse Santa Claus non-believer wrote a letter to Santa denying his existence, so SC says he ain’t comin’ to town. So the town rigs up a giant Big Ben-esque clock to start playing a song at midnight to say “Sorry”, but the little mouse breaks that as well. For the dramatic finale, he fixes the clock and all is right with the world.

    “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was one of Rankin/Bass less popular specials but definitely deserves better. Even a miracle needs a hand!

  5. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    “…let’s just put the whole segment up on YouTube, pray no one yanks it off there…”

    Deal, if the entire show can stay up on YouTube for over a decade, I think you’ll be just fine.
    I won’t post a link, but if you go to YT and do a search for ‘All Star Rock N’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular’, you’ll find it.

  6. Mav says:

    Great induction. The video of Pee Wee with Roddy is priceless. Those guys are pros who could get over in any situation. Saturday mornings were a thing back in the day.

  7. Larry says:

    I also remember that Christmas cartoon about the mice. It was “The Night Before Christmas” & involved a jerkass mouse writing a letter to Santa, (on behalf of the entire town), stating that nobody believes in him, causing a panic. A huge clock that plays music to convince Santa that everyone believes in him is immediately built, (that’s government for ya!), which the same jerkass mouse at first sabotages, then fixes just in time as ol’ St. Nick does a fly by over the town, so of course he does a 180 & gives presents to everyone in the town.

    Now THAT cartoon should’ve been played over the preachy, moralistic & pretentious Berenstein Bears one.

  8. DOC 902714 says:

    Dungeons & Dragons!!!!

    First i ever heard about it was on an episode of the Goldbergs where Adam teams up with the high school football team(?) to oppose his friends. To win back the respect of his friends and cost his team the game, Adam motions to withdraw his sword and plunge into the gelatinous cube.

    Come to think of it they also did a wrestling episode (several in fact) where Murray (their father) tries to score tickets for them to go see WM IV and features a cameo by Hulk Hogan.

    Heck even Goldberg (Bill) guest-starred on several episodes as Coach Mellor’s brother.

    Get to inducting!!

  9. Gerard says:

    i miss saturday mornings bugs bunny, ninja turtles, garfield and a tonne of other great stuff!! then the education board had to stick its nose in and say these cartoons aren’t educational!! they aren’t teaching kids anything we need to get rid of them ASAP!! kids didn’t care that ghostbusters or rock&wrestling wasn’t teaching them anything they just wanted to have some fun!! thankaslot education board!!

  10. registereduser says:

    The spin in the kilt pushes that gif over the top.

  11. Big Daddy Payne says:

    I feel like a horrible child of the 80s now! How do I have no memory of this special??? Roddy was my *hero* as a kid, you’d think I’d have been all over this!

  12. Obi1 says:

    That “CBS Special” intro graphic and music is iconic. It was like a warning of “You get ONE chance to see this until NEXT YEAR!!!”
    I’d wait all year for that moment that commercials ended at 7:59, that intro came on and I would get “hyperactive-chills” before A Charlie Brown Christmas. I miss those days. Now I just bitch about crappy wrestling all year.

  13. CP says:

    Unintentional double entendre: using the term “yanks it off” when talking about something involving Pee-wee Herman.

    (Pee-Wee’s Playhouse wasn’t around yet, right? I don’t remember when that launched but pretty sure it was 1986.)

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