The Wrestling Episode is our cleverly-named feature wherein we watch non-wrestling shows with wrestling episodes and try to figure out what the hell’s going on in them. You’d be surprised how many there are. You can watch the episode on Hulu here. If you have any suggestions on shows that need to be featured in The Wrestling Episode, let us know in our comments section below.
Previously On ‘Boy Meets World’ The Wrestling Episode
In part one we met Cory Matthews, a Philadelphia metro-area sixth grader who has to deal with every day problems like dealing with overbearing teachers, tip-toeing through the minefield of adolescent love, and sometimes being bullied into having pro wrestling matches with 450-pound puroresu wrestling legends.
In part two that story reached its logical conclusion, which was that Cory is willing to piss off his girlfriend and run the risk of being attacked by a giant snake if it meant getting a good grade in poetry class. It was weird, but really all you need to know is that one of his friends’ dads is Vader, and Vader needed three local teens to help him figure out how to beat a dying 50-year old with a pet in a bag.
What Happens In Part Three? Does Big Van Vader Take The One Ring To Mordor?
No, he’s not even in it. Nary a cameo.
Before we get into that, however, we need to catch you up on what the show became between season four and this episode, ‘For Love and Apartments,’ way later in season seven.
In season 5, Boy Meets World sent Eric Matthews to college. In season 6, the show decided to send every other character in the universe to the same college, so they could Boy Meets World all over it. Imagine poor Topanga working to be the smartest person in school only to end up at the same university as restless vagabond Shawn Hunter and her boyfriend’s clearly brain-damaged older brother.
By the time we get to season 7, they’ve almost completely abandoned the “school” aspects of the show and are just feeding Cory and Topanga into this never-ending loop of 90210-style HIGH DRAMA. Shows are now about growing apart from your friends, alienating your family, and abandoning the innocence and safety of your childhood. Then they’ll hit you with B-stories in those same episodes about how Eric has telepathy. New players include:
- Jack, Shawn’s paternal half-brother. You know that guy who said “whoa” a lot on Blossom? Jack is played by that guy’s less important brother. Suggested catchphrase: “Oh no!”
- Angela, Topanga’s best friend and the first black person their age anyone on this show’s ever met
- Rachel, a very tall redhead who serves as the fulcrum for a Three’s Company style romance angle with Jack and Eric before aging 20 years and opening an adult-themed Patreon
What’s This Week’s High Drama?
Topanga’s parents are getting divorced. Cory Matthews, avatar of love on Earth, decides he’s going to “fix” things and get them back together. He physically goes to their homes and berates them about how if true love exists they have to have it, because they made HIS girlfriend, and THEY’RE in love, so EVERYONE has to be in PERFECT LOVE. This is the actual plot of the episode. Cory alienates Topanga by going around her to try to shack up her separated parents, chills at her dad’s bachelor pad, and gets in her mom’s face during her daily gardening. At the end he finds out that — get this — Topanga’s parents are breaking up because one of them’s found love outside of the marriage, and it’s sad for everybody. He can’t get them back together, no matter how much he insists that love is real, and the episode ends with him begrudgingly having to admit that he can’t fix everyone’s problems by romantically sitcomming them to death. You have to give people the love and support they need, not the love and support you think they deserve.
So of course the B-story to this episode is, “Eric and Jack get kicked out of the girls’ apartment and have to pro wrestle them to get it back.”
I’m Sorry, Do What Now?
Right, so as mentioned, Eric (Cory’s brother) and Jack (Joey Lawrence’s brother) were living with Rachel. Once they sort of Jack Tripper their way out of a romantic triangle, they get kicked out of the group’s apartment and replaced by Topanga and Angela. The guys move into the girls’ old dorm room at Pennbrook University, which is decorated with Hello Kitty plushes and gigantic Backstreet Boys posters, because it’s 1999. Pennbrook University: offering free admission to anyone whose college application includes, “in the cast of Boy Meets World.”
Once the guys have been sexually threatened enough by the Backstreet Boys poster, they storm back over to the apartment and declare squatter’s rights, or whatever. They don’t realize that Topanga’s in the middle of an extremely heavy “parents getting divorced because true love doesn’t exist” story, however, and the situation escalates until she suggests a steel cage match, winner take all for the rights to the place. She has a lot of internalized anger she needs to get out, and Eric has apparently forgotten about all those times Big Van Vader showed up randomly and press slammed him. There’s a callback to the very first wrestling episode with a Matthews boy failing to crush a can on their forehead, which sets the tone.
They try to get out of it by saying you can’t have a steel cage match without a referee — not to mention a wrestling ring, or a steel cage, neither of which they bring up — and then this happens:
If you aren’t familiar with this cat, it’s WWE Hall of Famer and former WWF World Heavyweight Champions Mankind, aka Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy Mick, a hardcore legend who made a name for himself in exploding ring death matches in Japan. He found his way to WWE, where he became a deranged mental case with multiple personality disorder who survived being tossed off of and then through the roof of the Hell in a Cell by a demonic wizard. So of course he was standing in the hallway in a Philadelphia apartment building waiting for somebody to need a referee for a steel cage match, like some bizarre, violent Tony Wonder.
There’s A Good Reason For Mankind To Be There Though, Right? Like How Vader Was A Bully’s Father?
Nope! It’s so unexplained they lampshade it by having Foley look at the camera and say, “where am I?” And then he’s just immediately okay refereeing this Apartment Wrestling handicap street fight.
The match begins, and the Damned Numbers Game™ takes over early. The girls actually end up with a 3-on-1 advantage, technically 4-on-1, because Mankind won’t stop beating the shit out of Eric. Seriously, he “shows him the rules” by choking him and bodyslamming him onto a sofa, then interjects in the middle of the fight to knee the poor guy in the stomach and send him crashing through a banister. I’m guessing there are so many wrestlers on Boy Meets World because Will Friedle smiling unknowingly before being pummeled is their best joke.
Do The Girls Do Anything?
Aside from Rachel using her Great Khali-esque size advantage to put Jack in a sleeper hold — grab that body scissors, Rachel, who are you, CM Punk? — most of the action is Topanga and Angela smashing the boys’ face into their breakfast bar. They’ve set up a bowl of ice and some cups and … burgers? So Eric and Jack can get slammed into/through them. Rachel’s clearly the worker in this apartment of Radicalz and breaks Eric’s back with a camel clutch to make him humble.
And … that’s the entire fight. The guys step up to demand Men’s Rights, are quickly thrown into a handicap match and are defeated when Cactus goddamn Jack randomly helps their friends kick their asses. It doesn’t seem on the level, but at least Eric didn’t blend in with his scenery like a chameleon and destroy the girls with his telepathic blasts. I’m honestly surprised Mr. Feeney didn’t break down the door and hit a bunch of jumping shoulderblocks on them.
The girls win, and the boys are sent packing back to their room in a female dorm at school with their tails between their legs.
Is That The End?
Not quite. In the credits sequence we find out that not only have Eric and Jack moved back into the girls’ dorm, but now MANKIND is living with them as well. Foley gets mad that “the cute one” in the Backstreet Boys poster is staring at him, causing him to get mad at anyone ELSE staring at him, and Jack gets caught in the emotional crossfire. Jack says he can’t stop looking at Mankind because he’s got “leather straps on his face,” which … I mean, fair.
Mankind says he’s going to introduce them to Mr. Socko and chokes Jack out with the Mandible Claw. This is definitely how the episode should logically end. Eric doesn’t seem to understand that his friend being choked out with a foot sleeve is an act of violence, so our final shot is Eric being choked and threatened with being thrown through the air. TRY GIVING HIM WRESTLING ADVICE, GUYS.
So What Have We Learned?
- true love is dead
- pro wrestling is fixed
- if you don’t like what your friends are doing, try to fight them
- Maitland Ward will chokeslam you if you mess with her
- Mick Foley once had his sexuality threatened by a picture of the Backstreet Boys
- Boy Meets World was a really, deeply weird show