TV episode, 1976
If you’re living in the US and suddenly locked out of WWE Network, you’re probably wondering what to do with the next four months. Sure, you could search blindly on Peacock for something – anything – worth watching, but maybe you’d be better off looking on plain old NBC.com, which offers three advantages over the premium site.
One, it’s free.
Two, its alphabetical listings don’t lump every show beginning with “The” together.
And three – most importantly for today’s induction – it’s the only place you can find every episode of The Bionic Woman.
The man being chased, of course, isn’t about to let anything get cut off.
“Cut ‘em off in the ring!” continues the boss, played by Norman Fell. The man is surrounded by women wrestlers, but before they cut anything of his off, the scene changes.
In the Office of Scientific Intelligence building, the protagonist Jaime Sommers is en route to a meeting with her boss Oscar Goldman when she bumps into Dr. Brandes, a Russian scientist. This being America in the 1970s, this is extremely unusual…
Goldman remarks that Dr. Brandes recently defected from the Soviet Union, and that she’s working on a very important satellite system called Delta. For a top secret organization tasked with national defense, they certainly are trusting of newcomers from hostile nations, not to mention extremely lax with their secrets.
Before he can casually reveal any more vital information about national security, Goldman gets down to business: Wayne Haley, an OSI agent, has gone missing. While investigating some nefarious act of espionage, he disappeared, leaving behind this address:
“That’s an awfully seedy area of Washington, isn’t it?” asks Jaime. A Google search reveals that there is no 818 Vermont Avenue in Southwest Washington, DC, the corresponding address in Northwest Washington, DC would be right around the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, about two blocks from the White House.
But on this show, it’s home to a sports arena specializing in lady wrestling.
“Lady wrestling!” laughs Sommers. “Are you kidding?”
But Oscar is serious and decides that Jaime would be the perfect person to go undercover and get the scoop on this conspiracy of lady wrestling. The only questions are, will the bionic woman go along with this lady wrestling charade and, admittedly less important, do they actually call it “lady wrestling”?
The answer to both questions is yes.
Hoping to infiltrate this shady operation, Jaime Sommers shows up at the arena to try out.
Thanks to her bionic hearing, she discovers that the boss and his ladies are expecting to make a “big delivery” to “foreign friends” that night.
Thinking he can teach this impossibly skinny 1970s woman a lesson, the boss puts her in the ring with one of his wrestlers.
But much to her surprise, Julie Kotter over here breaks out of every hold and puts her sparring partner on the mat.
Soon, Jaime is training with Amazon April Armitage, a sweet lady whom she puts in a bionic airplane spin, which warps space-time to such an extent that April gets a hundred pounds slimmer during the wide shots.
Perhaps still dizzy, April rummages through the costume chest and decides that Jaime Sommers – excuse me, Jessie Sommers – would make a good Indian.
Is this cultural appropriation? Yes, but good luck telling that to the bionic f’ing woman. Actually, that should be easy —
— she probably already heard us with her bionic hearing.
Speaking of which, Jaime uses her cybernetically-enhanced snooping to find out that April is trying to open a health club and is due to make a quick nine grand that night for a down payment.
The promoter, meanwhile, shows off to Mad Mary Maddox a tiny drug-injecting needle that he plans to use for some nefarious purpose.
It’s then time for some television promotion. Appearing in front of what, if you look carefully, you can tell is Los Angeles’s Olympic Auditorium, the lady wrestlers hype that night’s event.
Since the mysterious Spider Lady has to go pick up her young son Arachniman from school or something…
… “Savage” Sommers is the one who has to cut a promo on her very first day in the biz.
Back at OSI headquarters, Dr. Brandes shows off the Delta circuit behind the new top secret satellite system.
When she catches Oscar Goodman watching wrestling promos on TV, she recognizes “Savage” Sommers from earlier in the day. Goodman confirms this, volunteering to the Russian that Jaime is working undercover at a wrestling arena on a top secret mission.
Dr. Brandes immediately rings the wrestling promoter to warn him of the mole in their midst.
The boss sticks Jaime with a tiny needle to sedate her for a few minutes…
…before moving on to the heavy-duty stuff which is supposed to keep her out for a week.
After locking her in a cage and raising it to the ceiling, he thinks he’s gotten Jaime out of his hair, but the absolute imbecile doesn’t realize that he injected her in her bionic arm. Duh!
Jaime is back on her feet in just minutes, tomahawk-chopping her way through the cage…
…and jumping down to the ring (bionically).
Jaime then tracks down April, who spills the beans about the lady wrestling promotion’s treason racket, as one does.
Before either of them can doing anything about it, though, the boss and the other wrestlers haul them to the boiler room and lock them in with the missing Wayne Haley.
Back at OSI headquarters, Oscar Goodman is concerned that he hasn’t heard from Jaime. He then hears that Dr. Brandes has left with her bodyguards, one of whom mentioned going to a lady wrestling match. Goodman puts two and two together and discovers that the Delta circuit, the very piece of technology that Brandes showed him hours earlier, is missing. Now, making it to a lady wrestling event is a matter of national security.
I just hope they’re headed to the right place, as the marquee outside this particular arena advertises Chavo Guerrero and Jackie Fargo, two famous gentleman wrestlers.
In the ring, the MC announces that Amazon April and Savage Sommers will not be wrestling that night, and that “Battling Betty” would be taking the Amazon’s place in the main event.
That main event is something that the ring announcer drunkenly calls the “world’s championship tag team challenge event… for women!”
Down in the boiler room, Jaime and April are trying to revive Haley from his stupor.
“Hard to talk.… Drugs.” Imagine all the wrestlers who could saved time just by cutting that promo.
Jaime delivers a bionic dropkick to bust open the door and let the trio escape.
Upstairs, the action spills out of the ring, allowing Mad Mary Maddox to stick one of Dr. Brandes’s bodyguards with a tranquilizer.
In the confusion, Brandes slips away under the ring, where she disguises herself as the Spider Lady.
Could this be where Vince and Moolah got the idea?
As she makes her getaway, Savage Sommers cuts her off. All hell breaks loose in the ring as Sommers and Amazon April run in.
Amazon April unmasks the phony Spider Lady…
…and Savage Sommers sends Battling Betty hurtling into the turnbuckle with a bionic leapfrog.
Sommers rips off a ring rope and ties up Mad Mary (which I think is also how John Cena once won a last man standing match). Referee Gene LeBell is powerless.
Our hero retrieves the Delta circuit…
…before getting her hand raised as the winner of a match she wasn’t even in. After such a plausible storyline, why did the writers have to ruin it with this inexplicable officiating?
And thus America was saved, the Cold War was won, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Amazon April got a reward just big enough to open up a health club with.