Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Might've Been: Tag Team (1991)

By the end of the 1980's, wrestlers Roddy Piper & Jesse Ventura had branched out into acting. Piper's biggest screen success was in John Carpenter's "They Live". Ventura one-upped him by scoring not one, but two hit films with Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Predator" & "The Running Man". Ventura, as we all know, then segued into politics, and more recently, television, hosting the cable series, Conspiracy Theory. Piper has returned several times to the WWE, usually in small guest gigs to bring back his cult favorite Piper's Pit interview segments.

In 1990, the two were paired for a possible series for ABC. Regrettably, Tag Team didn't exactly pass the smell test with network suits and critics, and the pilot episode was shelved until January 1991, when it landed a plum Saturday night slot on the eve of the Super Bowl. I remember seeing this show, or at least parts of it, when it aired. The concept was rather contrived, taking two veteran wrestlers and turning them into cops.

This wasn't the first time something like this had been tried. A few years earlier, Hulk Hogan was cast (or was that miscast?) in another unsold pilot, Goldie & The Bears, playing an ex-football player turned detective who wasn't exactly light with his fingers on a computer keyboard. If I can find that one on YouTube, I'll put it up. Meantime, let's check out the farce known as Tag Team.........

Piper & Ventura, to their credit, got some of their WWE friends involved, including Gene Okerlund, whom you hear at the start. However, this might've been more to the detriment of producer Touchstone Television, which had cast another grappler, Terry Funk, in a short lived Western, Wildside, some time prior. Piper would manage a few guest star jobs in later years, including The Outer Limits & Walker, Texas Ranger.

Rating: C.


chumleyfabersham said...

Piper starred in They Live. How would Ventura be one-upping him by having two supporting roles in Arnold films?

hobbyfan said...

Piper never landed another A-list gig. After "They Live", it was a string of direct-to-video movies and TV roles such as "Tag Team".