Wrestling was BIG when we were kids. Gigantic! My brothers and I had the official wrestling bendy figures and would slingshot them at each other using the official wrestling ring. We listened to the official wrestling album, featuring the official musical stylings of Hillbilly Jim. And we watched the official wrestling cartoon when we visited Grandma and Grandpa's house and could pick up official wrestling TV signals from Fargo.
I felt those were much different times, but apparently wrestling is just as big now, as evidenced by this shocking development...
John Cena has replaced Fred Flintstone as the official box-front shill for Fruity Pebbles! At least for the next few months. Cartoon purists (all 8 of them) were up in arms over this decision, hurt by the sad and brutal honesty of the cereal spokespeople, who admitted that Fred Flintstone was no longer the relevant endorser of breakfast products he once was. Truthfully though, if we (all 8 of us) could set aside our nostalgic whimsy for a moment, we'd realize this decision is an act of marketing genius, as I later learned this was a tongue-in-cheek nod to a repeated reference by wrestling cohort, The Rock, who had been comparing Cena's colourful wardrobe to a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Sorry Fred, but that considered - it's a pretty smart branding move.
It's also a surprising move considering Hulk Hogan threaten to sue Post, makers of Fruity Pebbles AND Cocoa Pebbles, back in 2010 over this commercial...
Hulk claimed the 'Cocoa Smashdown' spot was “unauthorized and degrading” to his character, and that the name of Hulk Boulder was originally his, before his boss, Vince McMahon, told him to substitute it for something "more Irish". A settlement was confidentially reached and the commercials were dropped. Good thing too! Because up to that point, Hulk Hogan was renowned for quality control...
That was sarcsam, by the way.
I wonder how Hulk feels about a character called Beef Burrito, as seen on Cartoon Network's Regular Show?
Beef Burrito is a throwback to WWE (WWF, back then) Wrestling Buddies, which kids of the late 80s/early 90s will remember.
The tie-in was seemingly SO successful, that Regular Show actually released their own Wrestling Buddy line, based on costumes the characters wore in another wrestling-themed episode called 'Really Real Wrestling'. Note the mock logo on the lower packaging.
I don't think there are any release plans for a Beef Burrito doll yet. Hulkamania would definitely run wild on those legal proceedings.
Hey, speaking of Hulkamania, did you know that in Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling, The Hulkster was voiced by Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond? Actually, none of the wrestlers in the series were portrayed by the actual wrestlers themselves. They were all performed by voice actors, probably so that WWE bosses could pocket more money for themselves. But the wrestlers appeared in live action vignettes throughout.
One wrestler who didn't appear was the late Randy "Macho Man" Savage. And I'm willing to bet the reason why is because there's no one on Earth who could replicate a voice like that. Randy Savage WAS a cartoon character! And cartoon creators knew it, casting him in several projects over the years, including King Of The Hill, Family Guy, and Disney movie, 'Bolt', to name a few.
Here's a hilarious episode of Space Ghost: Coast To Coast where Macho Man portrayed Space Ghost's grandfather...
I also tried to find a clean upload of a cartoon he did called 'Rasslor', which was an episode of 'Dial M For Monkey', which was a middle segment aired during Season 1 episodes of Dexter's Laboratory. Couldn't find one, so you'll have to seek out a download. In it, Savage portrays an intergalatic wrestler named Rasslor. Kind of a stretch, I know, but it ended up being his finest and funniest performance.
Here's an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, which was a funny claymation series pitting celebrities against each other in no-holds-barred battle royals. Former wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin (the real one) was a frequent guest-commentator. Vince McMahon (the real one) also appeared in an episode.
Wrestling continues to be a mainstay for new and upcoming animation. There was 2004's ¡Mucha Lucha! about a group of young Mexican wrestlers-to-be; Adult Swim put out a new series in 2011 called Mongo Wrestling Alliance; and based on this new cereal deal, you won't be surprised to learn that the WWE has also partnered with Warner Bros. to release a Wrestlemania-themed Scooby-Doo movie, to be released direct-to-DVD sometime next year. Unlike Rock N' Wrestling, wrestlers in the film will be portrayed by the wrestlers themselves, including John Cena and a bunch of other people I don't know.
There are tons of other funny wrestling cartoons out there. Check out 'Rasslor' from Dexter's Lab, Spongebob Squarepants in 'Krusty Krushers', and the debut of Gender Bender in a Futurama episode called 'Raging Bender'. All of these are great cartoons, but to me the main event is between Bugs Bunny and Ren & Stimpy. Which one do you think takes the title belt, if you had to ref?
As you can tell by my shirt, I've already picked a winner. Also, it's the only wrestling clothing I have that still fits me, brother! Too many vitamins, I suppose.