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Tag Team - the lost pilot episode starring Roddy Piper and Jesse Ventura!
by: -RoG-

When you look back at the 90's, it's hard to imagine that any TV show concepts were rejected. We're talking about a decade that gave the greenlight to a sitcoms such as "Dharma & Greg" and "Wings". It wasn't exactly a decade where TV executives seemed to be very picky about what went on the air (then again, what decade was?). Anyway, I recently managed to get an old taped copy of the lost pilot episode for "Tag Team" - a show from 1991 about two ex-wrestling superstars turned cops, starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Sounds like a winning formula for unintentional hilarity, right? Sadly, the TV execs didn't think so and the show never saw the light of day. What exactly was it about this show that they didn't deem worthy of putting on the air for at least one full season? While we may never know the answer to this question, let's at least take a look at the pilot episode of the show that never was.

WOW. Can you really go wrong with a series that starts off with imagery like this? No, Roddy Piper isn't raping Jesse Ventura from behind, he's just cracking his back for him. Then again, just about anything in the world of wrestling can be associated with some kind of sexual innuendo. Well, I suppose it's not too surprising that the show never got the greenlight considering it started off with implied manrape. Audiences just weren't ready for regularly televised manrape until about 10 years later with HBO's "Oz" series.

So Rick McDonald (Piper) and Bobby Youngblood (Ventura) are two tag team wrestlers who've been waiting a long time for their chance at a title shot. Tonight is the big night of their fight against the Samurai Brothers. Problem is Leona (played by Shannon Tweed), the wife of the wrestling promoter, wants them to take a dive in the match so she can presumably cash in on some bets. Leona tells them if they don't throw the match, she'll lie to her husband and say that they were making advances towards her, thus getting them kicked out of wrestling permanently. Oh no!

note: When they speak with one of their fans before the fight, they mention how they're no longer going to wear scaly green costumes and be known as the "Lizard Brothers". We never actually get to see them wearing these costumes, but if you look closely at the end of the show, you'll see a photograph on the wall of them in their absurd lizard costumes. Take a look!

So Rick and Bobby head out to the wrestling arena for their match with the Samurai Brothers who are managed by another familiar face from the early WWF days, Mr. Fuji. These guys wear face paint and show off their Samurai sword skills and tricks with nunchucks. Naturally, like all bad guys in the WWF, they cheat throughout most of the match to get the upper hand against Rick and Bobby. You know, stuff like...

...throwing salt into the eyes of their opponents. Gotta love how the referee never seemed to notice stuff like that, eh? Even though he's partially blinded by the salt in his eyes, Bobby manages to make a great leap to tag his partner, which we're treated to in slow-motion. It's quite clear that this would've become a signature sequence for the series if it had lasted past the pilot episode. Kind of like when Bruce Banner would get angry and then turn into the Incredible Hulk... you knew the tables were about to turn in favor of the good guys whenever that sequence took place.

Sure enough, they go into berserker mode and proceed to the crap out of the Samurai Brothers. Unfortunately for Rick and Bobby, this is the latch match they'll ever be in because Leona just told her husband that they were making advances towards her. Upon hearing this news, he gives them the "you're finished" throat-slash gesture. You know, I've never seen anybody actually use that gesture in real life with any hint of seriousness. I think it's high time we bring it into style, whaddaya say people? It doesn't have to be used for extreme situations, it can be used anywhere. Like if somebody asks you, "Would you like onions on your burger?", instead of saying "no", you can just make the throat-slash gesture and they'll know exactly where you stand. Make it happen, people... make it happen.

Anyway, with their wrestling careers kaput, Rick and Bobby start searching for other ways to earn a living. First, they their luck as movers.

That doesn't go too well when Bobby throws out his back while pushing a piano up a flight of stairs. They let go of the piano and it crashes through a wall and lands on their moving truck... completely destroying it. Comedic as that may be, it's nothing compared to the awesome line that Bobby delivers next:

Bobby: "Rick?"
Rick: "Yeah?"
Bobby: "I think we body-slammed the truck."
Rick: "Yeah."

Damnit, why couldn't they let this show run for just one full season? With lines like that, people would've been hooked in no time.

Next, the two try their lucky as human punching bags for a self-defense class. After having their heads stomped in by rabid grannies, they decide not to come back for a second class. Sadly, there were no golden one-liners in this scene, but hey... if seeing two muscle men in protective gear getting beat up by some older women doesn't qualify as entertainment, what does?

Later on, Rick and Bobby are at the grocery store when all of a sudden, they're in the middle of a robbery. With a big smile on his face, Rick walks up to the guy who's trying to rob the clerk and tells him, "Either you leave her alone, or I'm gonna separate your head from the rest of your body!" He then attacks takes a swing at Rick with his bat. Big mistake.

Rick then performs some of his signature wrestling moves, including picking the guy up and giving him a helicopter spin. The robber's partner then pulls a gun on Rick, but fortunately Bobby is there to jump down on him and then finish him off with a body slam. No sooner than Bobby says "I love shopping!", some more criminals shoot and them and then flea the supermarket. But they're not about to let those criminals get away.

When they see the criminals making a getaway in their car, they're somehow reminded of a move they pulled in a wrestling match, and then decide to ram the car with a trash dumpster. I guess they rammed their wrestling opponents with a trash dumpster at some point? Who knows... the point is, inspiration struck and it worked in their favor because the car ends up crashing into a big recycling bin and then they're able to knock out the criminals with a few more wrestling moves.

Later that night, the cops ask them about how they beat the criminals without the use of firearms, Rick responds, "These guys were lightweights compared to the Samurai Brothers!" The cop then tells the two of them, "It's too bad you're not cops!" And thus, the seed is planted... for their next job, Rick and Bobby are gonna try becoming cops!

Soon enough, they're enlisted for training at the police academy and while there's no comedic relief from Tackleberry or Lt. Harris, there are still plenty of racial stereotypes such as a jive-talkin' black man. Racial stereotypes on TV? That's just plain wong. With their brute strength, Rick and Bobby make it through all of the physical tests.

Back at home, they're both studying for the academic portion of the police tests, but Rick is worried he's not going to remember anything come test time because he's never been good at taking exams. Bobby then asks Rick to recite various wrestling stats such as "who is the tallest wrestler ever?" and Rick lists them off no problemo. After asking Rick enough wrestling questions, Bobby quickly switches over to asking him police questions and Rick magically remembers the answers to all of them. So what's the lesson here? Learning stuff like wrestling superstar statistics can lead to you becoming an academic genius? It would appear so! Thanks for the tip, Tag Team!

Will Rick and Bobby become officers of the law, or will they be forced to do more wacky odd jobs for our amusement?
Click here to find out on page 2 of
the "Tag Team" pilot episode!

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