Every TV show needs a wrestling episode and, despite its reputation for groundbreaking storytelling, the Alvin & The Chipmunks 1980s cartoon series was no exception.
The Chipmunks’ wrestling episode (well, half-episode. Each episode had two separate stories) started off with David Seville dragging the Chipmunks along for some heavy-duty shopping, only for the three singing rodents to daydream about toys they wanted to buy.
The Chipmunks’ guardian and manager, however, wasn’t having any of it, refusing to shell out any cash for the boys to buy their gizmos. David explained that they already got plenty of money from their allowance. What he probably meant was that he was secretly squandering the money the Chipmunks made from their concerts on frivolous purchases and foolish investments, just like your typical show-biz parent.
The exploited child stars had an idea, however, on how to come up with the fifty dollars needed to buy their toys. Wait, fiftydollars? You know, I understand inflation and how a dollar thirty years ago was worth more than a dollar today, but could one really purchase a jet-powered skateboard for fifty bucks in 1983?
Anyway, this idea involved wrestling (as opposed to the other idea they had in the other story from this episode, where they had to raise $400 in four hours to save their grandparents’ farm. I swear every plot on this show was about the Chipmunks scheming to make some quick cash. Then again, the whole concept of the Chipmunks was to simply speed up normal singers’ voices and sell the records to kids, so I guess it made sense that the boys were always trying to get rich quick, too).
I should also note that this episode aired before Hulk Hogan won the WWF title, and you can really tell that it was made during a bygone era of wrestling. That era, apparently, was the traveling carnival era, as the boys saw a sign advertising an upcoming wrestling show where audience members could win fifty dollars for lasting three minutes with a wrestler.
This particular wrestler was named, “Ivan the Terrible.” I don’t think WWE has ever named a wrestler after a Russian monarch, but I hear they came close with “Peter the Great” before settling on “Val Venis.”
It turned out that “Ivan the Terrible” wasn’t the pencil-thin glam-rocker originally pictured on the poster, but a big, burly, black-haired, mustachioed, barefoot Russian — an obvious rip-off of Rusev, albeit one aired two years before he was even born.
It was too late to back out now, as Alvin had already signed Theodore up. The only other choice would be to, I don’t know, no-show the event, but Alvin feared that would give the youngest Chipmunk “nuclear heat” with the promoter. At least he would have said that, had he been reading the dirt sheets.
To boost Theodore’s confidence, Alvin rigged his training regimen to make him think he was stronger than he really was. This ranged from replacing his weights with foam rubber replicas…
…to sticking springs on the ground to help his little brother’s sit-ups. WWE later borrowed this idea to help Sin Cara enter the ring.
Theodore even got Bull-Fit by chasing a giant sandwich around the backyard.
And he never took his eyes off the prize, which in his case was apparently this bong, judging by how baked he looks in this smoke-filled screen cap. Actually, it’s some sort of food processor he wanted to buy called a Chop-O-Matic, which may or may not be able to crush ice (brother!).
But all that training was pretty meaningless, since Simon had rigged up a special suit that could shoot oil, tie up an opponent with rope, and even launch Theodore into the air à la Max Moon. After all, said Simon, “Anything goes in wrestling!”
Every wrestler needs a cool name, but unfortunately, the name the Chipmunks came up with was “Mr. Fabulous.” I’m picturing a gay Paul Orndorff.
(Pictured: a gay Paul Orndorff)
So on the night of the big match, David just happened to bring the Chipmunks to that very wrestling arena (called, “The Wrestling Arena”). The boys, not wanting him to find out about their scheme, tell him they would have rather come the next night. An arena dedicated solely to wrestling with nightly cards? Jim Cornette was right – the wrestling business was better off before WWF went national.
Then the Chipmunks snuck off, put the disguise on Theodore, and made their way to the ring.
The other two Chipmunks probably should have put on disguises, too, but if David Seville was too dumb to recognize one of his chipmunks in a Super-Hero-In-Training costume, he was probably too dumb to notice that the other chipmunks at ringside looked an awful lot like the ones who were sitting next to him a minute ago.
The good news was that their human owner didn’t yell “AAAALVIIIIN!” as soon as the boys got to the ring; the bad news was that all of the tricks up Mr. Fabulous’s sleeve blew up in his face. The oil-squirter just made a mess of the audience…
…the rope-shooter only managed to tie himself up…
…and the TV he tried to use as a weapon got caught on its wires and blew up in his face.
Theodore had to hit the eject button, leaving him without his special suit and its various cheats.
Just as it appeared that Mr. Fabulous was beaten, the other Chipmunks demonstrated more knowledge of the sport than any other character in television history, putting Theodore’s foot on the bottom rope (or rather, vice versa) to break up the pin.
That’s right: the wrestling episode of Alvin & The Chipmunks included a freakin’ rope break.
David, finally catching on to the Chipmunks’ top-secret plan, tried to do a run-in, but got bounced out of the ring…
…and propelled onto a giant trucker’s lap.
Luckily for Theodore, Ivan the Terrible made a series of blunders…
…accidentally ramming himself into the turnbuckle…
…and, before Theodore could attempt a Lionsault, slipping on the mat that Alvin and Theodore pulled out from under him.
Theodore got the pin…
…and the Rusev lookalike threw a tantrum over jobbing to a chipmunk in under three minutes. Rumor has it, this was Ivan The Terrible’s punishment for announcing his engagement to his former valet.
The Chipmunks were thus awarded the winners’ share of the purse money…
…only for their manager to guilt-trip his meal-tickets into giving almost all of it to the ringside fans whom they’d sprayed with oil.
By the way, these wrestling fans looked strangely sophisticated. Maybe she’s a stunt granny.
That left each of the Chipmunks with a dollar, otherwise known as an “indie payday.”
The moral of the story was, if you wrestle, all you’re going to do is risk life and limb for very little money.
Now there’s a lesson worthy of an after-school special!
A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell.
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