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 Netflix 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 Charmed. What Is It?
Charmed asks the question, “what if we remade The Craft as a late ’90s TV show, but the witches were also Buffy The Vampire Slayer?”
The show follows “The Charmed Ones,” a group of sister-witches who use magic and The Power Of Three® to defeat warlocks, demons, and a pre-Nip/Tuck Julian McMahon. When magic doesn’t work, they can also use wire-assisted kung fu, somehow. The show ran for an unbelievable eight seasons, which becomes less impressive when you realize it was the late ’90s and EVERY show like this got green-lit for decades of shows. Like, Smallville got 10 seasons. 7th Heaven got 11. One Tree Hill premiered in 2003 and is still on.
It’s not, but you checked, didn’t you?
And There’s A Wrestling Episode?
Yes, featuring the stars of World Championship Wrestling. I’m going to tell you about it, but now I’m sad there isn’t an episode of Buffy where Dawn accidentally goes to an XPW show and summons a demon the Scoobies can only defeat by putting it through a flaming table. Just imagine Xander running around the Reseda Country Club trying to hit a vampire with a light tube.
The Three are:
- Beverly Hills 90210‘s Shannen Doherty as Prue. She has the power of telekinesis, and the ability to break up with you if you fart while she’s going down on you
- Who’s The Boss? child star Alyssa Milano as Phoebe, who helps the sisters by having very … POTENT, premo-NEE-shuns
- Picket Fences star Holly Marie Combs as Piper, with the power to freeze people like the Wiccan Zack Morris. She can also lock herself in Alcatraz for a week to prepare for fights.
If you haven’t watched this show, it takes the concept “deus ex machina” to adventurous new levels. Nothing ever really happens on Charmed due to cause and effect. It’s just characters standing in a circle quipping and rolling their eyes at each other about what’s going on or what to do next, and then someone either shows up or chimes in with, “actually, maybe I can help!” And then that person has all the necessary tools and information to move the plot forward. Rinse and repeat for an hour, for eight seasons.
This episode begins with a mystery: innocent people are being killed, and nobody can figure out why! The only thing linking them is that they’ve had their pictures in the same section of the paper on the day they died. The witches are at the police station (standing in a circle quipping and rolling their eyes at each other about what to do next), and this latest guy is almost killed by a demon as he’s trying to leave. Prue quips, “ugh, innocents and alleys, don’t they ever learn?” Because murder is serious! Also it turns out that — get this — Prue dated the demon attacker in college! It’s also important to clarify that while Buffy monsters usually got Klingon special effects on their faces, most of Charmed‘s demons and warlocks and mystical beings are just dudes in trenchcoats who can throw Hadokens.
It turns out — and I’m saving you about 35 minutes of standing around wondering what’s going on — that literal Hellboy Ron Perlman, described as the “demonic leader of the Demonic Academy,” is turning humans into demons for his academy, which again is extremely demonic. Apparently demons make “Faustian deals” with humans and enlist them in a violent training program to more or less beat the humanity out of them. Not to spoil anything for you, but that training program is competing in a wrestling ring against WCW Superstars. The actual plot of this episode is that if you join WCW, you will go to Hell.
Oh, to graduate the program, you have to kill an innocent person. They show Perlman randomly deciding which innocent should be killed by opening the paper. You’re excused for dropping and shattering your coffee mug if that plot tied together too brilliantly.
The Charmed Ones use a combination of looking at the paper and a “lost and found” spell to track the wanna-be demon, bring him to their house and then set him free so they can track him to the … arena. The Omni? The lost and found spell makes up 100% of the episode’s non-sarcastic jokes, as doing it brings back all the lost pets, lost socks and lost everything else to the house. Throughout the episode, Phoebe slightly rewords the spell to make it do whatever she wants.
As a quick aside, the spells on Charmed are AMAZING. All you have to do is say a sentence that kinda rhymes, and magic occurs. Alyssa Milano will be like, “lost and found spell, do your thing, find me a ring,” and then MAGIC and she’s found a ring. If she wants to change it she’ll (without any props or gesturing or emotion or anything) be like, “lost and found spell, don’t do your thing, maybe DON’T find me a ring,” and the ring disappears. If the Halliwell sisters had recorded a mix tape it would’ve destroyed the entire west coast.
Get To The Wrestling Already, Jeez
Oh, we’re getting there.
Part of being a good demonic leader of a Demonic Academy that turns people into demons is punishing those who disappoint you. Not everyone makes it through the training program, you see. Some of them, like this poor guy who asked for more time to pay off his debts, get sent into the ring against the devil’s number one enforcer, Buff Bagwell. WCW never told you, but Buff is the stuff, and “the stuff” is an eternal hatred of the Christian God.
After taking this guy down with a clothesline and a double-underhook DDT, Bagwell goes for a lateral press. You may be asking yourself, “is the demon trying to win a wrestling match? What are the rules here? What’s going on?” If so, let me clarify that Bagwell is covering the man because doing a lateral press in the wrestling ring in the Satanic basement on Charmed opens up a portal to Hell.
It either sends you to actual Hell or the opening credits of the Spawn movie, I can’t really tell. But yeah, having Buff Bagwell lie perpendicular on top of you kills you. I guess this is what they were talking about in the American Males theme when they said, “if they want to talk to you, you better not listen/you might wind up in critical condition. Mm. American Males.”
If you can’t tell what’s going on in the picture and think it just looks like the sweded version of Boyz N The Hood, here it is in spectacular GIF form.
I haven’t seen a guy sent to Hell like this since the time Buff tried to main-event Raw.
Does Buff Bagwell Fight A Bunch Of Witches?
No, actually. Buff appears to punish this guy, but just stands around for a while and then exits without any followup. But don’t worry, Booker T and Scott Steiner do!
Oh, That’s Disappointing. WAIT WHAT?
Not immediately, though. First, Shannen Doherty has to stand around rolling her eyes scoffing about pro wrestling. Two things:
- It’s pretty funny to have one of the stars of the show shit on pro wrestling, when you’ve specifically brought three actual pro wrestlers onto the show and are in the middle of a pro wrestling episode of your sassy witch show
- people don’t think this is entertainment. They like pro wrestling. You are watching demons send human beings to an actual Hell beneath the ring. That’s not what we watch.
… I mean, not all the time.
Quick note: How wonderful is it that WWE TV has spent so much time establishing that under the ring means literal Hell, complete with smoke and fire, and Charmed confirmed it? Is there a Roswell episode about a syndicated little person courtroom show under wrestling rings?
The Charmed’ns want to risk their lives to save the human trying to become a demon one of them knew in college, so they prepare to fight Ron Perlman’s goons. What they don’t realize is they won’t be fighting the goons … they’ll be fighting WCW superstars Booker T and Scott Steiner. If you’ve ever heard Scott Steiner speak, you’ll be happy to finally have him confirmed as an otherworldly monster.
Instead of taking them on 3-on-2 using magic, because this is not a sanctioned fight and also they can do magic, Piper stays outside the ring and lets Prue and Phoebe battle them in a tornado tag. Remember earlier in the report when I said the witches also sometimes use kung fu? Here’s the first move of the match, full speed:
My favorite part is how she just hangs there from the wire in mid-air while the wrestlers sell. She’s also apparently a fan of Ricochet and Will Ospreay with that backflip into a standoff at the end. She could’ve like, taken a step back. So much of the Charmed fighting is equating “movement” with “attacking.” There’s a moment when Alyssa Milano has to get up off the ground, so she does a full spinaroonie, drops back down onto her back, kips up with her back to everyone (so you can’t see it’s her stunt double doing it) and then quickly turns around. It’s like watching Liam Neeson climb a fence.
The entire match lasts about three minutes, and every second of it is funny. Scott Steiner cutting a promo on Alyssa Milano about having the face of pain and being the bringer of pain is the kind of moment you only get once in a television lifetime.
Is This On YouTube Somewhere?
Yeah, there you go. I recommend reading the rest of this column before watching it, though, because you don’t want to be spoiled. Alyssa Milano takes a full-on Booker T scissor kick and Scott Steiner trash talks Shannen Doherty while gorilla pressing her, so you want to go into it as pure as possible. The only thing missing is Hugh Morrus showing up to hit No Laughing Matter on Holly Marie Combs.
So How Does It End?
With two of WCW’s greatest tag team specialists of all time jobbing out in three minutes to Samantha Micelli and Brenda Walsh, then falling into Hell, of course.
I now present to you the funniest GIF I’ll ever make. Scotty Steiner lying there like a helpless baby before collapsing into eternal CGI damnation is perfect, but Booker T (during his most Ernie Hudson period ever) hamming it up like a Muppet is even better.
God bless you, Charmed. What you lacked in Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s great episodes and compelling characters you made up with in amount of WCW guys you sent to Hell.
Is … Is That It?
Not quite. Since this human guy seems to be having so much trouble killing an innocent, Evil Ron Perlman decides to up the ante and demand he kill his own innocent mother. Don’t worry, though; the Charmed Ones arrive in time to talk him out of it, and the guy ends up killing Ron Perlman with a Phantasm Sentinel Sphere, which he has for some reason?
Man, I don’t know.
So What Have We Learned?
- remember the WB Network’s motto: it’s important to not care about anything, then care way too much about everything
- Holly Marie Combs is useless in a wrestling match
- the best wrestlers, even with demonic powers, can be easily defeated by some witches who aren’t even doing magic to them
- the Booker T who showed up in WWE wasn’t the real Booker T, it was just Stevie Ray in a wig (Scott Steiner was fine)
- Buff Bagwell was never seen again