From 1999 to 2000, pro wrestling reached unheard of heights in TV ratings as fans flocked to watch The Attitude Era of the then-WWF and to follow the exploits of the nWo in WCW. Countless batteries were worn out on remotes across the country in attempts to watch both Raw and Nitro, what with us all being back in the digital stone age before DVRs. Monday nights meant pro wrestling, and it was grand.
The rest of the week? Well, there was Smackdown, which once upon a time actually mattered. Sunday nights had a show called Heat. And, of course, there was the often comical for all the wrong reasons Thunder. Beyond that?
Oh yes, at one point in the not too distant history of television, networks actually spent the bulk of their schedules not on horrible ‘reality’ shows, but on shows that featured actors memorizing lines and playing characters. And unlike Raw, they didn’t suck! In fact, believe it or not, some of them were pretty dang good. Take, for instance, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now generally you don’t put a director’s name in front of a TV show when describing it, but as that guy went on to direct the mega super gargantuan blockbuster known as The Avengers, you can see why we might. It featured hot girls (including Sara Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan) fighting various creatures of the night. And spies. And whatever else that hot chicks would look good fighting. It was a rioutous success, so it was no shock when various clones appeared on other networks.
Such as Charmed.
Ah yes, Charmed. This was the story of two hot sisters…and Shannen Doherty. (Who was thankfully replaced in the show’s fourth season by the smokin’ hot Rose McGowen for obvious reasons.) The sisterly trio went around fighting demons and solving crimes by sounding like they were reading from Shel Silverstein. Seriously, a bit of face kicking and some nursery school rhyming and demons get got. Buffy apparently worked way too hard at this.
While the series spoke often of magic (they are WITCHES, after all), something truly spellbinding took place during the show’s third season, as someone came up with the fantastic idea of having the girls fight evil fight jacked up dudes in tights, a mishmash of face mishing and mashing if there ever was one.
Yes, kids, just in time for Halloween…WCW’s roster and Aaron Spelling’s “The Craft meets Melrose Place” were about to collide in “Wrestling with Demons”!
Our story begins with Phoebe (that would be Alyssa Milano) having a premonition about a guy dying, a guy that we will refer to as Chinese Fonzie.
Before you send hate mail, know that in the show his name was Mr. CHANG.
I wonder which one is more offensive?
Yeah, I don’t know either dude.
(And why aren’t you dressed up for Halloween?)
So anyway, Chinese Fonzie heads down an alley, an alley so drenched in neon it would make a Vegas strip designed by Joel Schumacher jealous.
Despite this amazing amount of light, Prue (Doherty) exclaims, “Innocents and alleys…won’t they ever learn?!” And she truly proves to be psychic, as someone shows up throwing fireballs at our leather jacket wearing dope.
That someone turns out to be Prue’s old boyfriend, Tom…and yeah, the girls are trying to save him from becoming a servant of Satan, much like Eric Bischoff is.
In fact, they kinda have similar hair.
Again, though, Tom isn’t EVIL, per se – he’s just being recruited to be evil at the evil academy.
Seriously, that’s what the girls call it: THE ACADEMY OF EVIL.
And the Dean overseeing the school of all things vile?
I mean, if anyone is going to teach these young ‘uns how to be a true Hellboy, it’s him, right?
Especially with a hairdo that makes him look like the world’s most dastardly J. Jonah Jameson.
Especially when his character’s name is, and I am not making this up, Mr. Killman.
They don’t tell us his first name, but I bet/hope it is Phil.
But Phil Killman (KILLMAN!!!) did not come alone though, he brought the very best Hellspawn he could find to be his chief minion:
See, because underneath the posh office of the Academy of Evil, there’s an elevator to hell leading to a wrestling ring with a crowd of about 12 people around the ring.
Kinda like any WCW event that was taking place about this time, honestly.
Seriously, though, there’s a ring on the precipice of hell – see, here’s the evidence.
Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m in a wrestling ring…in hades…and someone offered me a handshake, I’d like to think I’d be smart enough to know he was probably not doing so in earnest.
But hey, I guess you can’t fault the guy too much. I mean, Buff does not really look demonic.
He looks like the kind of guy who would buy and unashamedly wear cleats to a slow pitch softball game, or the guy who never, ever wipes his sweat off whatever gym equipment he was pretending to use while openly leering at the 16 year olds practicing gymnastics nearby.
Buff is more an evil imp than a demon.
Regardless, he pins his opponent to the mat for the 3 count (by a demonic ref who in a case of horrible miscasting is NOT Nick Patrick), which opens a portal to Hell.
I think this maybe is a reverse of how the WCW Power Plant worked.
Eventually our heroes (and Brenda) find the evil wrestling arena (which really should have been smoke-filled!) and confront Hellboy and Buff.
It’s a swerve, as the girls won’t be fighting Bagwell, but instead…
Steiner’s partner is none other than Booker T, and while he doesn’t do a promo, he is sporting hair so wacky that we forgive him.
So the girls get in the ring to fight them, and despite the fact that they didn’t change into skimpy ring attire, Steiner eyebangs ’em both.
The match starts with Prue doing a split kick knocking down both guys…
…and Phoebe doing some other wacky kick that does not seem to impress Phil Killman (KILLMAN!).
Oh, and if you are asking why these witches aren’t using, you know, MAGIC, join the crowd.
In fact, the only real spell we saw them cast during this episode was a Lost & Found one, which backfires in a seriously “Bewitched” way by causing EVERYTHING they ever lost to come back, due I guess to the awesome verse of her poetry being too vague.
Lost socks, a dog, and Allysa’s hair color all return due to her inability to rhyme as well as Lanny Poffo (who I bet would have made for an awesome warlock).
Back to the match, Piper (played by the lovely Holly Marie Combs) acts as more of a Capt. Lou and directing her sisters in this tag match for the ages by shouting such insightful wisdom as “Come on, do something!”
She gets taken down outside the ring, thus distracting the girls and allowing the heels to do a double suplex.
What an impressive show of strength by these men, hurking up 110 pounds of woman each!
Don’t worry too much, though – as Alyssa soon regains her feet by doing a modified spinaroonie!
A dosey-do double dropkick puts Steiner and Booker down for the three count.
A three-count in HELL!
And yeah, the girls track down Phil Killman (KILLMAN!) and do away with him in a completely boring manner that doesn’t involve throwing him under the ring of hell.
On the plus side, Alyssa ends the episode wearing this outfit.