Tag Team (1991)
Starring: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Jennifer Runyon, the Vulcan chick from Star Trek III who replaced Kirstie Alley
Directed by: Paul Krasny (Mission: Impossible TV series; Police Squad!; V; MacGyver; etc.)
Synopsis: Two wrestlers (Piper as Tricky Rick McDonald and Ventura as Bobby “The Body” Youngblood) who may also be secretly married don’t throw a match when some guy tells them to so they’re blackballed from the ring and try to find any jobs they can but the only job these two idiots are good at is law enforcement.
- Hot Rod, may he rest in peace, is great in this. His acting never gave Laurence Olivier night terrors, but he has an infectious charisma and never seems to be phoning it in. Jesse was ok, didn’t really seem to be trying that hard, but if you watch something like Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe you can ascertain that this is just the extent of his acting ability.
- Guys using fake wrestling moves to fight people never gets old or less funny. During one fight there are literally ropes in front of a building that act as ring ropes. And during this street brawl, Bobby actually tags Rick in. It’s amazing.
- Possibly the greatest “bumbling piano movers drop their piano” bit of all time, complete with the line, “Rick … I think we bodyslammed the truck.” because everything they do has to be about wrestling.
- Mr. Fuji makes a cameo, and Mean Gene Okerlund does some off-camera ring announcing. Shannon Tweed is in the beginning for like 3 minutes. Not sure why. She could’ve just played the damsel in distress. Not that Jennifer Runyon isn’t a classic actress.
What doesn’t work:
- Once again, we have a wrestling-based show that features WWF personalities that makes no mention of the WWF. This is why movies about fictional athletes and teams rarely work. No one would have cared about Major League if the team was the Ohio Aviators instead of the Cleveland Indians.
- Jesse I guess insisted that his character have the same “The Body” nickname, but by 1991 Jesse was flabbier than a manatee’s scrotum.
- Bodyslam is the worst name for a dog in the history of domesticated animals.
Overall: Any fan of ’80s wrestling would be remiss if they missed this. It’s basically the corniest thing you can possibly imagine, and there’s just no way it would have been sustainable as a series. It works fine as a TV movie, but how much mileage could you possibly get out of this premise for a whole series? But as a little window into the height of wrestling culture in the early ’90s, it’s a must-see.
Score: 5.5 bodies slammed (out of 10)