Wrestling Super Special
MAD Magazine has always been a childhood favorite. Heck, even now my son has a subscription. But remember when they took aim at pro wrestling?
Of course, the "Special" didn't feature any new material at the time, but rather a collection of past wrestling spoofs they had written. And hey, that was totally fine.
The first piece is an interview with "Sly Gavone" interviewing "Vince McMoney", slight alterations that I'm sure spared Alfred E. Neumann his share of lawsuits back in the day. If I were to guess based on the artwork and storylines being talked about here, I would guess that this piece was written in late '85 or early '86.
Quick aside: I loooooove the framed photo of Sgt. Slaughter decking the framed photo of some unidentified foreign heel. An absolutely perfect background gag, the kind that MAD Magazine used to hang their hat on.
Much like the recent Steve Austin Show podcast, Sly was able to get Vince to open up and explain the inner workings of his promotion, which definitely wasn't meant to be the WWF, no sir.
In the panel above, we get Vince looking over some new wrestlers, such as The Thing From Outer Space. This was basically NXT 30 years before there was an NXT! Equally funny is how Vince didn't want to take a look at an All-American Olympic medalist for his roster. Because Kurt Angle.
Other highlights of the spoof included writers proposing a storyline in which Hulk Hogan (I've given up on naming the spoof names) would turn heel after his hair was bleached too much, causing him to go on a rampage and attack Cyndi Lauper on the David Letterman show, only to be saved by Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper and Hogan are then seen talking amicably about the finish (which should PROVE that this isn't real!), with Hogan saying fine as long as turns back babyface and gets his belt back, because he needs it to hold his pants up.
Next we have the Mad Primer on Professional Wrestling, for those of you who need to be walked through what the sport really is all about.
The prevailing message here (at least in this particular panel) is that wrestling fans and nothing more than stupid mark fanboys who take the industry far too seriously, even though what they're watching is clearly just entertainment.
I'm glad things have changed so radically since then.
Another funny panel was making fun of how the announcers are forced to praise the athletic prowess of two huge fat wrestlers fighting.
Song parodies, you say? How about "Goons, They Know How It's Done" to the tune of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." While not exactly Weird Al Yankovic-caliber, it gets the job done. What I do want to compliment, however, is the fantastic artwork here, including decent renderings of Hulk Hogan, Cyndi Lauper, Captain Lou Albano, Rowdy Roddy Piper and (on the other page, which I realize you can't see here) Andre The Giant, Sgt. Slaughter, Mr. T and a woman who looks suspiciously like Ric Flair.
You know which picture bugs me, though? The one in the bottom left-hand corner. I want to say it's Gorilla Monsoon putting a camel clutch on Ken Patera, but (a) that probably wasn't generationally-possible and (b) since when did Gorilla ever wear a singlet?
Sergio Aragones has always been one of MAD Magazine's go-to cartoonists, and this issue is certainly no different.
Here, in "A MAD Look At Professional Wrestling", Aragones expertly draws the silliest things about the wresting industry and makes you wonder why others haven't really picked up on the humor of it (okay, I suppose they have now in this day and age, but definitely not back then).
For example, the panel on the left depicts four morbidly obese grapplers. Hilarity ensues when they all get together and the canvas collapses! Guess they should have reinforced the ring for this one, as Gorilla Monsoon used to say when he wasn't busy chinlocking Ken Patera and wearing a singlet for no adequately-explored reason.
Other panels included a loudmouth fan who screams at the wrestlers from ringside, and then finds himself surrounded by them in the elevator; a mother who watches the kids during the day and punches her opponent's lights out by night; a brutal, hairy wrestler who is actually an ape wearing a human mask when a young fan goes to get his autograph; and someone named "Macho Man" Randy Savage (who looks nothing like "Macho Man" Randy Savage) getting his hair did at a posh salon.
In our final feature, MAD Magazine made some fearless predictions about what was coming in the year ahead in wrestling. I'm guessing here that the year ahead in question was 1986, but again.... not 100 percent sure.
Beginning with the top panel, we have Hulk Hogan and Wendi (Wendy?) Richter fighting on their honeymoon. Obviously they didn't take into consideration the possibility that The Hulkster was already married, and that Wendi would look, like, super-old the next time she made any sort of public appearance decades later.
In the next panel, The Mental Man (who looks suspiciously like MAD founder Bill Gaines) is taking on The Road Warriors. Heck, I'm really impressed that MAD Magazine knew who The Road Warriors back in their pre-NWA or WWF days!
And finally, we have nonsense involving Weird Al Yankovic (wow, second Weird Al mention in the same column!), Fabulous Moolah, Captain Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper. You can read the caption if you like, but honestly, it's not that funny.
Other bold predictions included Dr. Ruth Westheimer (another 80's reference) outing Rowdy Roddy Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton for being lovers; King Kong Bundy accidentally collapsing the Empire State Building during a publicity stunt; and Classy Freddie Blassie receiving a honorary doctorate for introducing the phrase "Pencil Neck Geeks" to the English language.
The back cover of the Super Special was a mock magazine cover of WWWF (Witless Windbag Wrestling Federation) Magazine that looks suspiciously like the original.
Most of the contents are nothing that great (not sure what inspired the 'Paul Orndorff being brain dead' gag, for example), but it looks close enough.
One thing I'd like to point out, though - the Wrestling Super Special was published in March 1992, which meant it had to be completed in late 1991. I'm fairly certain that the mock-up magazine cover was produced years later (e.g. I'd seen it in a previous edition). Plus, with references to Orndorff, Bundy and others, it's a safe bet this faux magazine cover was created in the late 1980's at the very latest.
The cover of the magazine features Harold "The Killer Accountant". In late 1991, the real WWF introduced an accountant character of their own....
IRWIN R. SHYSTER!!!!
Did the WWF rip off MAD Magazine?