The Night That The Rock Won Over
Tonight was another episode that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I started this challenge. First off, I was a huge fan of wrestling as a kid, well, once I got over the fact that it seemed like a bunch of men fighting in their underwear. It wasn’t that I was homophobic, because I was too young to really know what gay was when I was introduced but, even as a fan you have to admit that the amount of exposed man skin can be disturbing to a little kid, especially when you consider most of us are told from the time we can walk and talk that it’s not appropriate to always be so naked.
Once I got into the fighting and storylines, I looked past the tiny shorts and started to watch the WWF as if it were a real sport. This lasted until somewhere around my junior year in high school when me and the few friends who still watched wrestling up to that time, just kind of collectively grew out of watching grown men put on fake fights. I think this might have also been around the time of a shuffle where all of the old timers that I grew to love started to age out of the industry.
Then, at some point in 1997, I moved into a party house with some friends and a couple of them turned out to be full grown wrestling fans which provided an excuse to get me to watch again. At first, there were only a few of us who openly got into this nostalgic development but then after a while, our house hosted parties for every wrestling night whether it was a pay-per-view special or just to watch Smackdown or Raw.
I think what I really liked about this time was it was right around when the WWF switched to be the WWE and started to claim it was “Sports Entertainment” to get around regulation that venues had to comply to if pro-wrestling were a real sport. This seemed to really send the WWE into a surreal era in order to really distance themselves from their former efforts to come across as real.
At times some of the storylines got so crazy that it reminded me Family Guy where you were often left question the reality of whether or not Stewie and/or Brian were actually heard by the family or if it was some sort of Sixth Sense thing where we as the audience are allowed to see things that people in the reality of the show were actually able to see. I mean, this was an era when multiple wrestlers were either wrestling while dead or from some other dimension which kept our house party pretty fun.
By the time this episode originally aired, our whole house and our guest were fully onboard with wrestling and were all blown away by how good The Rock was as the host even those who only watched since it was the only thing on or out of a sense of irony. I truly believe that it was this visit that took The Rock from just being a wrestler to the superstar that we all know today.
Even with the passing of time, and the fact that I wouldn’t claim to be a wrestling fan anymore, I still thought this was a super fun episode to watch and I really loved seeing Mick Foley, The Big Show, and Triple H join in to hit that nostalgia button. If I had one complaint about this episode, it would be the fact that there were two repeated ads from earlier in the season which meant less time to laugh with The Rock. Hell, they could have even used that extra time to give one of the other special guest wrestlers a shot to be in a sketch as someone other than their wrestling persona, which I bet both Mick Foley and The Big Show would be pretty good.
Oh well, it is what it is and it was rather fun but now I must move on. I’m sure I’ll wax poetic more when The Rock returns but until then, it’s now time for me to shift gears in order to share what I saw tonight, as I give you…
The Wicker Breakdown:
- This week's show started with a sketch called Vince McMahon's Rules where we went backstage to see special guest Vince McMahon go over the rules of the night with other special guests Mick Foley, Triple H and The Big Show since they were all rivals of The Rock and the time and McMahon didn’t want them to ruin this SNL/WWE collaboration and promised Mick Foley and Triple H that they could be the next host is everything went as planned. Meanwhile, all that the wrestlers wanted to do was figure out a way to fight tonight’s host. At one point The Big Show wondered off and came back with Mango in his arms, which led McMahon to demand that he put the little stripper down before he went on to announce, “Live from New York…”
- The Rock then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he wasn’t used to working with such tiny people and how that led to a couple of accidents during rehearsal from The Rock going a little too hard. Mick Foley, Triple H, and The Big Show then caused a ruckus in the audience as they took to their seats to watch the show. The Rock went on to tell a few jokes before we went backstage where Vince McMahon was reassuring Lorne Michaels that nothing would go wrong. We then went back to the stage in time for a wrestling style confrontation that ended with Triple H wishing our host good luck with the show while the rest of the wrestlers cheered him on.
- We then got a repeat of the Uncle Jemima's Mash Liquor ad from earlier in the season which is my favorite sketch of all time that had Tracy Morgan trying to pitch his homemade moonshine in an ad that parodied Song Of The South.
- The Ladies Man then returned for another installment where Leon Phelps announced that he was officially in love before introducing us to the woman of his dreams. This led The Rock to enter the scene dressed in drag, and despite all of the clues, including the fact that The Rock made no attempt to disguise his voice, it took our host blatantly admitting that he was an undercover cop working a sting to catch Johns for Leon to realize what was actually going on, since he was so blinded by love.
- Mr. Peepers also returned for another installment where Chris Kattan’s little monkey man character finally got to meet his dad, as played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who had all of Mr. Peepers’ moves only he was super-sized.
- Morning Latte was another reoccurring sketch to return with Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri as their over-caffeinated, morning talk show host characters. For this installment, the two coffee fiends started out rambling on about a recent Chuck Woolery party before they went on to introduce The Rock as himself as their guest. This was around the time that he first started to become an anti-hero which led the two amped up hosts to foolishly fear their guest as if they believed in the fiction-based sport, even though he wasn’t putting on his wrestling persona and was being as polite as he could be. The sketch ended with The Rock singing, Are You Lonesome Tonight and was joined by Mick Foley and The Bog Show singing backup.
- Once again, Colin Quinn gave us the news. This week, brought the return of Horatio Sans artistic character named Jasper Hahn who once again kept drawing images that started out looking extremely pornographic but this time were actually images of the presidential candidates by the time that he got to the finished piece of art. Jimmy Fallon also got a segment where he sang a few parody songs in honor of the upcoming spring break.
- AC/DC then took to the stage to perform Stiff Upper Lip.
- The Rock then played Clark Kent who did a horrible job at keeping his superhero secret identity with his Superman suit constantly hanging out of his clothes.
- The Goombahs was a parody of a fiction Showtime show that was attempting to capitalize on HBO’s success with The Sopranos, only this show had way more Italian stereotypes to the point where most of The Rocks lines ended by him saying, “That’s a spicy meatball,” if he did manage to say more than those four words on their own.
- We then got a fake ad for Nicotrel which started out sounding like a new aid meant to help smokers quit which technically it was since we eventually found out that Nicotrel was actually The Rock’s character’s name and for a price, he would beat the hell out of you if he ever catches you with a cigarette in your mouth. During the sketch, The Rock showed how the program worked by beating Chris Parnell to near death and by the end of the bit, Triple H, Mick Foley, and The Big Show joined in.
- Today's Lady was a talk show sketch that had Rachel Dratch as the host who interviewed Cheri Oteri and Molly Shannon who had polar opposite outlooks on their careers with Oteri being a stuffy businesswoman and Shannon was a wacko who actively practiced witchcraft. After the girls shared a few facts, The Rock joined the show to share which type of woman he preferred but his appearance alone got all of the women on the show to act like a group of school girls.
- AC/DC then returned to the stage to perform You Shook Me All Night Long.
- This was followed by a repeat of the Colonel Belmont's Old Fashioned Horse Glue ad from earlier in the season which was a glue that actually bragged about how many horses had to die in order to make their glue products.
- Finally, The Rock closed the show by thanking the audience and saying their goodnights.
This year is turning out to be one of the rangiest seasons in a while with the ups being so high and the lows being barely watchable and the wildest part is it seems to be impossible to guess which you’ll get based on the host alone. Thankfully, tonight’s episode was one of the ups that will definitely top my favorites like thanks to these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved the Nicotrel sketch not only because I liked the bait and switch that Nicotrel wasn’t actually a pill to help one quit smoke but it was The Rock’s character’s name who would beat you up if you smoke, I also like how Triple H, Mick Foley, and The Big Show got to play along. Next, I really liked The Rock As Mr. Peepers’ Dad, because I couldn’t stop laughing at The Rock as a giant version of Chris Kattan’s little monkey man. Finally, I was a fan of The Rock On the Ladies Man because it cracked me up how Leon Phelps had no idea that the woman of his dreams was actually The Rock in drag.