The Wrestling Episode: The Battle Of The Bundys On ‘Married … With Children’


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 Daily Motion 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 Married… with Children. What Is It?

Back in the mid-1980s, upstart network Fox — long before the success of The Simpsons, and even longer before it turned into a hardcore sex channel — decided its first prime-time, live action sitcom should subvert the tropes of classic shows about happy families and be about a group of violent, depressed and stupid assholes who failed at life and take it out on each other. The result was Married … with Children, the story of a former high school football star who got married too young, had a couple of kids, and ended up selling shoes.

The show ended up running for 11 seasons with over 250 episodes, changing the sitcom game (and establishing Fox as a network) enough for The Simpsons to truly work, and transforming its nihilistic Archie Bunker lead Al into a cult hero. The Parents Television Council called it the, “crudest comedy on prime time television … peppered with lewd punch lines about sex, masturbation, the gay lifestyle, and the lead character’s fondness for pornographic magazines and strip clubs.” So, you know. Huge hit.

And There’s A Wrestling Episode?

A couple, actually! Married … with Children‘s creators were actually big wrestling fans, naming the core family the “Bundys” after WWF star King Kong Bundy, and the Bundys’ next doors neighbors the “Rhoades,” after wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes. There’s a Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling episode we’ll eventually get to, and this one, featuring an appearance from the family’s namesake and the best thing that ever happens on Married … with Children: gratuitous, unrealistic use of stuffed dummies.

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In addition to selling shoes, Al Bundy has formed NO MA’AM, the National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. Think of them as men’s rights activists 20 years before that was a thing, based less on involuntary celibacy and more on being stuck in loveless marriages and being unable (or unwilling) to change things. The members of the group are still completely under the thumbs of their wives, and their activism is going into Al’s sad son’s basement room and cockblocking him so they can watch pro wrestling.

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The guys are excited to see their idol, King Kong Bundy, who’ll be wrestling “Captain Ecology” in a Halloween night wrestling match at the “Ditka Dome” in Chicago, “right after the Mike Tyson/Macaulay Culkin fight.” I love that both parties in that very 1995 punchline ended up involved in wrestling. King Kong promises to tear the Captain “a new ozone hole,” and NO MA’AM decides to make him an honorary member. Bud wonders why a pro wrestler they’ve never met gets to be in the group and he doesn’t, so Al declares that if Bud can go to “Wrestlepalooza” and get a mark photo with King Kong Bundy, he can be in the group.

As a fun note, King Kong had already appeared on the show as Peg’s brother Irwin, but this is his first appearance as himself. Also a fun note: the Insane Clown Posse once described King Kong Bundy as looking “like a giant penis in a torn black condom.” I’m not gonna top that.

Anyway, because this is how The Wrestling Episode episodes work, Bud decides the only way he’s going to get a photo at the event is to dress up like a wrestler and sneak backstage. It’s a local show, Bud. WrestleMania II was 9 years ago. Just wait until intermission, he’ll probably charge you 20 bucks for a signed Polaroid.

Bud Ends Up Wrestling, Doesn’t He

Hey, you’re getting pretty good at this.

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Kelly Bundy, ’90s Goddess of Puberty, is tasked with getting Bud a costume for his wrestling persona and comes back with one of the leftover bee costumes from the wrestling episode of Mama’s Family. Her excuse is that it’s Halloween, so it was either the bee or Pocahontas, and Bud doesn’t have the cleavage to pull that one off.

They run into security, played by the late great John Coffey, like the drink, only not spelled the same. Bud’s explanation is that he’s one of the “replacement wrestlers,” in case someone on the show gets hurt. About there’s when King Kong Bundy bursts out of his locker room (alongside his valet, named “Anytime”) complaining that his opponent, Captain Ecology, backed out of the match because it’s cloudy and his solar car won’t start. Bud swoops in to get the mark photo, setting up one of my favorite MWC lines ever:

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“Um, excuse me sir? I was wondering if I could get a picture with you? It would mean a lot to my brain-dead father.”
“Sure, kid. I do a lot of work on behalf of the stupid.”

Instead of taking the picture and getting the hell out of there, Kelly has a bright idea: Bud’s a “replacement wrestler,” so why doesn’t he take Captain Ecology’s place at Wrestlepalooza? Because this is a wrestling event on a television show and Hollywood thinks wrestlers wrestle because they showed up early and signed up, the match is on: King Kong Bundy vs. “The Bumblebee.”


Is It Just A Squash?

Not at first, surprisingly. Bud begs King Kong not to hurt him, and the big man whispers that he’ll go easy on him because he’s doing him a favor. The bell rings, and the first move is a knee lift that sends Bud into the ropes and, unfortunately for all parties involved, back into King Kong’s ass, stinger-first.

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If only you’d wrestled as sexy Pocahontas.

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Meanwhile, there’s a B-story going on where Al and the guys from NO MA’AM want to watch Wrestlepalooza on television, but can’t because their wives are watching a CBS movie called Old Man, Older Woman. It’s actually the film’s second airing. So many people fell asleep the first time, they decided to show it again. Remember when CBS was the old people channel and not the Chuck Lorre lazy sitcom emporium?

It turns out the guys are able to get their wives to watch wrestling because of the sexy men in underpants, which I should remind you is (1) King Kong Bundy and (2) a teen in a bumblebee costume a couple of them are related to. This gets the women extremely horny somehow, and Al’s faced with the worst thing that can happen in his life: having to have sex with his hot lazy wife.

King Kong Bundy finally puts The Bumblebee away with a slow motion splash from the top rope, juxtaposed with images of men fearing their horny partners like Lars von Trier is directing.

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Does Bud At Least Get The Photo?

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Yes, but it doesn’t count. Kelly (who the announcers won’t stop complimenting for having a great ass, like it’s some kind of New Japan show) takes a post-splash photo of him with his teeth knocked out, but Al, having just waken up from being literally fucked into a coma by his wife, says they don’t watch wrestling anymore.

“See, we learned tonight that wrestling on TV leads to wrestling at home. And that ultimately leads to sex with the wife. So now NO MA’AM stands for Numb Old Men Anxiously Awaiting Morticians.”

Al steals his severely injured son’s IV drip, and that’s the end of the episode.

So, What Have We Learned?

  • you should not join Men’s Rights Activism groups, because it only leads to suffering
  • solar powered cars worked like Republicans thought they do in 1995
  • if you want a mark photo with a wrestler, try to find them at intermission or wait outside after the show or something instead of cosplaying as Thelma Harper and getting hospitalized
  • and no matter who you are, whatever you do, please, don’t try this at home