The second the War Raiders showed up on Raw as the Viking Experience, they could never be taken seriously again.
My only explanation for this unforced error is that Vince heard the name “Ebony Experience” during Harlem Heat’s Hall of Fame speech, and a light bulb went off in his brain. Or an aneurysm. Either way, the intimidating duo was introduced to the WWE Universe as the Viking Experience, which sounds like a Disney World attraction at best…
…and a Renn Fair-type re-enactment troupe at worst. Some Norse history buffs in North Carolina apparently had the same idea, since claiming the name for themselves.
An immediate name change to the Viking Raiders still couldn’t wipe such an all-time awful moniker from the fans’ memories. It didn’t help that their finisher, Thor’s Hammer, was itself re-named the Viking Experience. Evidently, getting flapjacked and powerslammed was an essential part of the medieval Scandinavian lifestyle.
Even the name, “Viking Raiders” still pigeonholes Rowe and Hanson (now known as Erik and Ivar) as goofy Norsemen cosplayers for the rest of their WWE tenure.
Imagine the tie-dyed Dudley Boyz showing up in the WWF as the Hardcore Hippies, with Bubba Ray and D-Von re-christened as, say, Topanga and Nebula. Do you think they’d ever get to wrestle the Plaid Lads and the Vampire Connection in all those ladder matches?
So it’s little wonder that a year after their main roster debut, the Viking Raiders would wind up in the dumbest of dumb comedy matches.
It’s Backlash 2020, and the Viking Raiders are set to challenge the Street Profits for their tag team championships. But the two teams can’t wait until their match (scheduled literally next) and instead brawl in the parking lot.
Seconds in, they accidentally bang up Braun Strowman’s car and haul ass back into the Performance Center.
The Street Profits help themselves to some golf clubs just lying around backstage, while the Raiders arm themselves with shields, axes, and a bowling ball.
“This is going crazy!” opines Montez Ford. “Golf clubs, shields, axes, a bowling ball?” In case viewers haven’t noticed, this is kooky!
Both teams disarm and fight hand-to-hand, with cinematic music accompanying the spontaneous brawl. It’s early in the pandemic era, so this kind of reality-bending gets a pass.
So do the various impossible camera angles and close-ups.
And so do the daydreams and flashbacks, the first of which pops up in Ivar’s head as he reminisces about bowling. See, in the build to this match, the Raiders and the Profits competed in a number of sports and games to see who the better team truly was at non-wrestling (and of course to build momentum). Remarkably, the segments produced to fill time on a 3-hour TV show are now being replayed to fill time during a pay-per-view match.
Ivar snaps out of it and rolls his ball at Ford, barreling it into his gonads like bowling pins.
The camera lingers on Montez for a good ten seconds to communicate that his balls hurt. It’s as if the company that named a team, “The Viking Experience” doesn’t believe in subtlety.
Next, Angelo Dawkins tackles Ivar through a window, leading to another dream sequence…
…this time a montage of him finding and eating turkey legs.
As both teams regroup, they verbally recap the entire segment up to now.
And that’s when, riding on Kawasaki Ninjas, arrive a bunch of whatchamacallits… shinobi…
…led by EC3…
…who challenges both teams in Japanese, at which point I realize it’s Akira Tozawa.
The two teams huddle and decide there’s only one thing they can do to survive this ninja challenge (besides ignore them and head to the ring for their scheduled match)…
…and that’s to team up.
Tozawa wiggles his fingers
racistly furiously to summon his ninja hordes, and the fight is on.
Tez, armed with a red Solo cup, splashes one of the ninjas with a clear liquid (possibly water)…
…kicking off a ninja-bashing montage stitched together with every wipe on the software.
When confronted with a giant Black ninja (whose identity remains a mystery to this day)…
…Ivar uses telekinesis to grab a turkey leg.
But in many ways, a turkey leg is no match for a katana…
…leading the Viking Profits to retreat up boxes labeled “WWE props” and onto the top of a truck.
The alliance is short-lived, as the two teams knock each other into a dumpster. The camera then zooms in on Ivar – could it be a THIRD flashback?
Yes it is! This time, it’s of a series of women telling Ivar he’s cute, but Erik, “not so much”.
Referee Jessika Carr shows up and yells at the two teams to get out of the dumpster for their match. And you know what she says to Ivar and Erik? Hint: She’s a woman.
Before Ivar can bask in his cuteness too long, the teams are besieged by a tentacled monster lurking in the garbage, causing them to flee. It may have been the work of Tozawa’s gang; I Googled “Japanese tentacle” and found a lot of results.
Tom Phillips then informs the viewers that the advertised tag team title match will not be taking place, after all. While this would be a disastrous decision on a normal PPV, there are no fans in attendance to complain. And as for the viewers on the WWE Network? No one subscribed this month thinking they’d see the greatest wrestling match ever.
Not between the Profits and the Raiders, anyway.
By the way, any word on Strowman’s car?