Every two weeks, I put a movie in my Netflix queue that’s rated at one star. This is no easy task, as even a piece of cinema failure like Gigli is rated at one and a half stars. But for you, anything. This week:
Splatter Rampage Wrestling, 2003
Starring: Absolutely Nobody.
Back in the late ’90s, before the spotlight moved on to Grand Theft Auto and “sexting,” backyard wrestling enjoyed a brief stint as the media-approved answer to What’s Wrong With Kids Today. The pro stuff was at the height of its popularity and despite the standard “don’t try this at home” warnings, kids all over the country decided it would be a good idea to jump off of their roofs and/or trampolines onto pieces of plywood that they’d set on fire.
In theory, this still would’ve had at least some entertainment value – personal injury being one of the strongest cornerstones of American comedy since Vaudeville – but in practice, it tends to watch like, well, a bunch of teenagers goofing off in their suburban lawns until it’s time to break for hot pockets and Sunny D. There have been a couple of wrestlers who came up from the backyard feds to the pro circuit, but they’re few and far between.
And I guarantee that none of them started off in Splatter Rampage Wrestling.
How the “World Rastling Coalition” (“the Ohio Valley’s most extreme backyard federation!”) managed to get this thing on an actual DVD, let alone get the nationwide distribution of Netflix, the world may never know, but I’ve got to admit that it’s not without its charm. It opens with a hilarious disclaimer advising the viewer that the “stunts” in the video are not to be performed by anyone who is not “a trained professional.” Not only does that ask us to overlook that this is exactly what is happening in the DVD itself, but to believe that guys like Puppylover and Orange Sherbert, who holds the hot pink plastic “Championship Belt” are both trained and professional.
And it pretty much goes downhill from there, with the occasional side-trip into unintentional hilarity from “Sam the Dirty Bum,” the MC who introduces the matches from a literal basement in front of a plastic cow skull and a grimy American flag, swearing like a twelve year-old even though he’s gotta be at least sixteen, though nothing comes close to the joy found in the “referee,” who is somewhere around nine and was obviously brought on as part of the WRC’s “if you’re going to make your wrestling video, take your little brother with you” hiring policy.
Still, these guys do seeem to be having fun with it, and since at least one of them managed to staple a roll of barbed wire to a piece of plywood and convince his friend to get hit with it (which is a pretty mean feat in itself, I assure you), it’s difficult to hate on ’em too much.
Difficult. But not impossible.
Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.