Muppets, Served Raw

Published: November 14, 2011
Categories: Feature, Reviews

The following was written by ToughPigs’ own Justin Tonglet, a fan of both the Muppets and WWE wrestling, so of course he was the best man for the job.  Thanks for all your hard work, Justin!

I’m a big fan of the Muppets and a big fan of WWE.  So when the two combined, I was excited to say the least.  WWE has a gimmick going of booking celebrity guests to help their ratings to compete with football season.  Everyone from Bob Barker to Al Sharpton has done the show.  About a year ago, WWE put out a list of people they wanted to get, and The Muppets topped the list.  It seemed like a strange choice, and true to the Muppets’ sensibilities, it played out as one.  It was, nevertheless, entertaining.  I may have a bit of bias, but I loved it.   From what I’ve read, the wrestlers were so excited about the Muppets’ appearance that many of them were actively campaigning to appear on screen with them.

The first segment featured Kermit and Piggy announcing their excitement to be there.  I’m sure Kermit was mostly excited he wasn’t going to have to dress in drag and get in the ring.  As they begin talking, they were interrupted by Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero (Swagger’s manager).  To me, it felt like the Muppets were being themselves and not really changing anything about their act to fit in with the WWE.  For example, Kermit’s jibes at Swagger went over pretty well, though it must have been awkward for Kermit to have to use Zack Ryder’s “Woo woo woo, you know it!” catchphrase.  The segment ended with Diva Kelly Kelly kissing Kermit and being (rightfully) fussed at by Miss Piggy.  My one big complaint is that Piggy never got her revenge for that kiss.  Doesn’t seem like she’d just let it go, but I guess she can’t chop the fan favorite right before a match.  Serves her right; she lost anyway.  Karma at work??

The next segment featured Muppet Labs developing an energy drink to help Santino in his match.  (I guess steroids can be put in a drink too.)  As Beaker went to deliver it, he was cornered by Christian, a big heel that conveniently happens to be feuding with Sheamus, the man who is constantly compared to Beaker, thanks to his gravity-defying red hair. One of the real highlights for me was hearing Sheamus confirm his shared lineage with Beaker.  From what I hear with other wrestling fans, that was a real treat too.  Is this the first human relative since Swedish Chef’s uncle Danny Kaye?

The next little appearance was one from Statler and Waldorf who seem to have shelled out some serious cash for a suite to watch the show.  I was hoping for a lot from the pair, and I was a little disappointed.  I understand that they’re at a wrestling show, and I get that the Stone Cold “What” chant is annoying, but their mockery of the catchphrase didn’t feel authentic to the Muppets, and it didn’t get a very good response.  It’s possible that it wasn’t shown to the live audience, because there was no reaction at all.

A few more segments come and go, during which I noticed a constant stream of Muppet mentions from the announcers.  I was pleased to see that the special stage (which had the movie logo on it) from the Kermit and Piggy segment was visible for the entire show.  I wonder if anyone that didn’t know the Muppets were on flipped past it on channels and wondered why something so out of place was on WWE Raw.

The next segment involved Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, two heels, harrassing Fozzie and Gonzo.  I’m probably one of the few WWE fans to yell, “Gonzo’s wearing his Muppets Take Manhattan water skiing outfit!”  I wonder why they hate the Muppets so much, and there’s no explanation as such.  Anyway, they pry at Gonzo’s arms, and he enjoys it, just like in Muppet Treasure Island.  It’s a good thing John Cleese prepared Gonzo so well for every time people try to torture him.

We get a clip from the movie, during which WWE’s writers posted on Twitter how shocked they were to be able to promote a movie people cared about.  After this clip, we see Animal is the guest time keeper, which gave me hope that the match would have Animal going crazy, ringing the bell like the madman he is.  Though this didn’t happen, I couldn’t have been more surprised and pleased when, at the end of the match, Beaker popped up at ringside (where did he come from?) and handed Santino the drink that he and Bunsen made at the beginning of the show.  I expected it to kick in and give him magical superpowers (ala Popeye’s steroid-laced spinach), but instead he spit it in Swagger’s face and rolled him up for the win.  This may be the first official WWE assist from a puppet!

Statler and Waldorf made another brief appearance, and the fact that I really don’t even remember what they said should tell you something.  Their appearances here just didn’t work at all, which is ironic since, ideally, their commentary on pro wrestling should be a gimme.  Finally, we see Miss Piggy backstage trying to get a date with John Morrison (and his abs), and who can blame her?  Instead, Morrison tried to set her up with the resident midget Hornswoggle, who showed off his real-life tattoos of the Muppets on his ankle.  Hornswoggle stole a kiss and subsequently got chopped in typical Piggy fashion.  Kermit came to check on him, and he seemed to be star-struck over the incident.  Kermit remarked about how strange the show is (which sort of sums up my feelings on that whole scene), but things got stranger when Cody Rhodes entered, put a bag on Kermit’s head, and left without a word.  I honestly don’t get that.  I haven’t seen him in a while.  Guess he’s been putting bags on people’s heads.  Statler and Waldorf send us off to commercial making jokes about John Cena’s “You can’t see me” taunt, and once again fall flat.  I wish we’d have ended on a better note.

In all, we saw nine Muppets in one show, which is more of an appearance than we’ve had in years.  Several Muppety topics trended on Twitter worldwide.  The wrestlers seemed to be having a lot of fun, and the Muppets were having a good time.  I learned that WWE had to cut a match to make room for all of the Muppet segments, but it was well worth the sacrifice.  It was certainly a strange fit, but the combination of Muppets and wrestling seemed to work.

But don’t take my word for it!  Watch this video with all of the Muppet scenes from WWE Raw and see for yourself how much fun it was!

Click here to get ready to rumble on the ToughPigs forum!

by Justin Tonglet

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