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Wrestling With Reality

by Zach Oat August 19, 2008 10:20 am
Wrestling With Reality

At one point, professional wrestlers Hulk Hogan and Jesse "The Body" Ventura were on top of the world. Hogan was arguably the face of America in the 1980s, and the star of numerous films that hilariously pointed out how muscular he was. While Ventura's film career was not quite as impressive, he did manage to parlay his frequent appearances in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies into a public seat, acting as governor of the great state of Minnesota from 1999-2003, much to the dismay of Garrison Keillor. But now, with their careers on the decline, they have fallen into the quicksand trap from which there is no escape: reality television.

True, Hogan has been wallowing in the mire for a while, between the candid Hogan Knows Best and the revamped American Gladiators (which is actually kind of awesome). But now, he's entered the incestuous realm of D-list celebrities with this fall's Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling on CMT, which "boasts" a Real World cast member (Las Vegas' trashy Trishelle), as well as ex-TV stars and frequent reality-show competitors Danny Bonaduce, Todd Bridges, Dennis Rodman, Erin Murphy and Dustin Diamond. Did we mention they're all going to be wrestling each other? And that their trainers are Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and one of the Nasty Boys? Hogan will be a judge, along with former manager Jimmy Hart and ex-WCW honcho Eric Bischoff, and I would totally watch this if it weren't for all of the annoying pseudo-celebs. At this point, contestants Nikki Ziering and Frank Stallone are the only things that have me interested, for totally opposite reasons.

Ventura, meanwhile, is merging his former roles as wrestling match commentator and public servant for a possible court TV show. I don't know if court TV shows count as reality shows, since they always seemed fairly scripted to me (is The Hills still called a reality show?), but apparently they do well. Did you know that there are currently 11 different court shows on the air, with three more on the way, not counting this one? Yeesh. Hopefully, they won't go with a similar, boring name like Judge Jesse, and instead choose something clever, like Bench Press! or Body of Evidence. (Yes, those are examples of me being clever. Sad, right?) I'm not making any promises, but I'll do my best to watch an episode when it comes on the air next year -- as long as Bonaduce isn't suing Dustin Diamond for damages.

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