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 YouTube 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.
I’ve Never Heard Of The Sopranos. What Is It?
I’m not talking about The Sopranos, this week’s edition of The Wrestling Episode is about Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales, a series of Disney Channel short films fleshing out the extended universe of the best part of its company’s worst intellectual property.
Can we talk about The Sopranos instead? I would rather talk about The Sopranos.
Unless I missed the episode where a series of comedic mishaps leads to Tony having to take on the Nasty Boys or whatever, you’re stuck with Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales, the for-some-reason continuing story of what would happen if you remade the Michael J. Fox film Doc Hollywood with a box of Hot Wheels.
Anyway, the Disney Pixar Cars films deal with how NASCAR would work in a world where every living creature is a car. Humans are cars, animals are cars, insects are cars, and they just drive themselves around without passengers. Riffing on how little sense this universe would take up the entire column and has already been done, but yes, it’s a complete existential nightmare, and yes, there were multiple World Wars fought in-universe between Axis and Allied car soldiers.
And There’s A Wrestling Episode?
Yes, and I’m sad it’s from 2010, before Sin Cara debuted. So it’s Cars sin Sin Cara. I wish they’d included his early days and shown him in Chik-cara.
The only two characters you need to know from the Cars universe are:
- Lightning McQueen, a champion race car who throughout the films learns a number of valuable life lessons, including how to find a guy who kinda sounds like Owen Wilson so you don’t have to spend Owen Wilson money on your hastily licensed and produced cartoon, and
- Tow Mater, a hillbilly tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, the hillbilly tow truck of stand-up comedians
As you might’ve guessed from the title, the plot of every Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales is that it’s a Cars cartoon (natch) about Mater claiming he did a bunch of shit he didn’t do. How’d they get Larry the Cable Guy to agree to play a dumb character who lies to his audience about what an impressive redneck he is?
In this episode, Lightning McQueen comments on the size of a monster truck driving by, and Mater, experiencing a severe case of stick shift envy, claims he “used to ‘rassle trucks bigger’nat.” He used to be a “monster truck wrestler,” and the rest of the cartoon is increasingly ridiculous clips of a tow truck in a luchador mask using awkward car wrestling to defeat other, bigger, occupationally-dressed cars. And here I thought Lucha Underground was hard to explain.
Wait, How Do Monster Trucks Even Wrestle?
Have you never seen WCW Halloween Havoc ’95?
Like nearly every edition of The Wrestling Episode, writers of non-wrestling shows think it’s impossible to succinctly describe the sport(-entertainment) to a new audience, so they pretend WWE is a traveling event with local sign-ups and 12-round matches where you lose if you fall down in any way for three seconds.
Throughout the episode Mater begins on the independent circuit and works his way up to a big arena show for Monster Truck Wrestling. I like to pretend the animators for Cars Toons got all the way up to that shot of the outside of the arena and were like, “wait, would our arenas have parking lots? Are those just people who couldn’t get tickets and are forced to sit outside and wait for their friends? Do their friends need rides home if they’re cars? What if a car gets drunk, can it drunk drive? How do you designate a driver in the Cars universe?” And then I stop asking questions about the most densely complicated fictional universe ever created.
Who Are Mater’s Opponents?
Before we get into that, you’ve got to see his wrestling character: The Tormentor, a mishearing of “Tow Mater.” The hood really protects his identity as a buck-toothed local tow truck attempting to use his real name. Since the episode is just a montage of him winning wrestling matches, let’s tackle the opponents in order.
Up first is fan favorite The Ice Creamer, who is, for reasons I could not even begin to explain, a living ice cream truck that sells giant ice creams to other living cars despite being a monster truck, who is also a wrestler? Sure. He threatens to make Mater “scream” — get it — but is easily defeated when he’s tricked into turning around to sell ice cream and gets flipped, flipped for real. It’s interesting that Mater’s pro wrestling fantasy involves him being an undersized everyman who must use his intelligence and ring savvy to defeat much larger, stronger opponents. What a smark.
The Von Kaiser of the Monster Truck Wrestling promotion is Captain Collision, a Hummer monster truck who doesn’t even have to be outsmarted. Mater just hits the ropes and spears him for the win. Of course the second I call the fictional redneck pro wrestling tow truck a smark he turns into Roman Reigns.
The most interesting part of this match is the reveal of what a later press looks like in the Cars universe. Isn’t that the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen? How do you hook the inside leg, with a bungee cord?
After that is the Rastacarian, who I keep calling the “Jamaicar.” Yes, he’s monster truck Kofi Kingston. Mater defeats him in the most concerning way yet, which is ripping off his dreadlocks wig, putting it on his own head, and asking the crowd, “who be jammin’ now?” You’ve never breathed through your teeth in response to something harder than Larry the Cable Guy reading the line, “who be jammin’ now.”
Opponent number four is Dr. Feel Bad, a wrestling ambulance. I’m calling him “Dr. Wagon-er Jr.” The Tormentor defeats him by using the ropes as a slingshot to fire a monster truck-sized ambulance through the roof of the arena, across the street, and through the window of a neighboring Local Medical Facility where he’s counted out.
Mater’s final opponent before the championship match is the Sheamus of Monster Truck Wrestling, Paddy O’Concrete. He’s a cement mixer, you see, and Mater pins him after tricking him into spilling wet cement all over himself.
Serious question: if a cement mixer in the Cars universe is a living thing and dumps his own wet cement on his head, is that … is that like a person diarrhea’ing all over themselves? Did Mater win a wrestling match in a Disney Channel cartoon by making his opponent shit? Hello and I’m sorry to any kids who googled “cars mater funny” and ended up here by mistake.
Who’s The Monster Truck Wrestling World Champion? Is It Still Kevin Nash?
No, he’s currently out with an injury.
The world champion is actually a mad scientist car known as Dr. Frankenwagon, which is lazy even by Cars naming standards. He’s accompanied by his monster, an enormous Frankenstein-themed crane. In a world of machines I was really hoping this would be Brian Cage.
At this point in the story, No-win Wilson car chimes in to ask what Mater did, and that’s when Mater reveals that Lightning McQueen was his tag team partner, and just doesn’t remember it. If a car lies to you like that, is it literally gas-lighting? With lies like this, Mater is set for a big role with the GOP.
the grand old porsche, shut up
The Tormentor announces that he and his partner, now included in the imaginary footage as “Frightening McMean” (noice), will take on Dr. Frankencarname and his monster in a tag team match for the Monster Truck Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. The cruiserweight division is for Smart cars. I would wax philosophical about how this all works given the rules of the promotion, but I’m still over here trying to figure out why the cars’ eyes are on the windshield instead of the headlights. Is it because we see through a windshield, so the cars would “see” through a windshield too? We’re through the looking glass here, people.
We’re about 3 1/2 minutes into a 4-minute commercial cartoon, so Mater wraps things up (and impresses a couple of pink girl cars he also made up) by hooking the monster with his tow cable, driving under the ring, and flipping the entire thing over. It’s the Braun Strowman fantasy spot we’ve been waiting for:
The episode ends with a fan in Radiator Springs recognizing the Tormentor and asking for his autograph, causing Lightning to wonder why the guy doesn’t want his. Maybe when you get back your real voice, brother. And that’s where we leave it: with the reveal that at least part of what Mater was saying was true, that he’s the Monster Truck Wrestling Champion, and that apparently Lightning McQueen has some severe brain damage from his years of racing and doesn’t have a long term memory.
Wait, do cars have memories at all? Do cars have brains? Engine damage? But shouldn’t the engine be more like the heart than the brain? What’s a car’s brain, the transmission?
So What Have We Learned?
- the Disney Pixar Cars universe is extremely easy to understand
- WCW was ahead of its time when it created monster truck wrestling matches
- if you plan to be a monster truck wrestler, you better make it your second job, and use your day job as your identity
- The Tormentor really needed a catchphrase here, just for the “you say Tow Mater, I say tow motto” joke I just wrote