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
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.
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!
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...
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.
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
their wrestling careers kaput, Rick and Bobby start searching for other
ways to earn a living. First, they their luck as movers.
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
"Rick?" Rick: "Yeah?" Bobby: "I think we body-slammed the truck." Rick: "Yeah."
couldn't they let this show run for just one full season? With lines like
that, people would've been hooked in no time.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!