Check out Part I here!
No Holds Barred: The Script: Act II
When we last left our hero Ripper, he was making men crap their pants. Next scene: a French restaurant.
Sam and Ripper are seated in a corner table and Sam indicates she was not sure if Ripper was going to like this place and hopes there is something on the menu he can like. An “effete waiter sashays up to their table” (them’s the script, folks) and speaks with a heavy French accent. Sam orders, but Ripper studies the menu. The waiter decides Ripper is too dumb to understand the menu (?) and suggests Ripper order a cheeseburger and a hot dog instead. Ripper then finally starts his order… in get this… French! Ooh. Roasted! But wait, there’s more. Ripper keeps up the order, going on, ordering four items, as the waiter fidgets. Finally, the waiter admits he is not French and speaks in perfect English and does not even know French.
Ripper then goes to the kitchen, where he is greeted with cheers. Because he is a famous wrestler? Nope.
Busboys remove Ripper’s jacket and the chef steps up and anoints Ripper with a toque, and Ripper takes charge of the kitchen, “like a maestro.” He slices, dices, stirs, tastes and leads the “epicurean symphony” at the end of which “the kitchen staff gives him a standing ovation.”
Let’s pause to absorb. Ripper is a champion wrestler, whose matches help NTN skyrocket to be the best rated network, he energizes the marketing department, the ladies fall in love with him – like instantly, he rides a Harley, can beat up four men at the same time – even if they are armed with pipes, chains and brass knucks, he recognizes antique furniture and can spot a fake at a glance, he speaks French, and he is also apparently an accomplished French chef who regularly takes over kitchens to prepare a four course dinners. Hogan commissioned this script and is alleged to have rewritten it, so the draft I have is per Hulk Hogan’s own admission something he himself wrote. Don’t worry, it will get better, and by that I mean much worse.
Meanwhile, back at the table, Sam waits impatiently, but have no fear for the Chef, followed by the humbled waiter wheels up a cart “on which sits Ripper’s incredible meal.” Ripper appears as well, and is thanked by the Chef for his recipes. That’s right, the ole’ Ripper taught the Chef how to make the food off the Ripper’s recipes. Sam is impressed. By the way, what are the odds that Sam picked the one French restaurant in town where Ripper knows the Chef and runs the kitchen? Or does Ripper do this at multiple places? Is he like the Kwai Chang Caine of French cuisine, going from place to place, beating down mooks in the ring and satiating his soul by making incredible French food afterwards? I mean, I would totally watch that on Netflix if someone were to make it. Just saying.
Back to Brell. He and his two minions Unger and Orbach, approach a “sleazy basement bistro.” I don’t think I ever been to a sleazy bistro, but am willing to give it a try. The establishment is called Spike’s Bar, where a grimy poster announces “TONITE AT SPIKE’S – NO HOLDS BARRED TOUGH GUY CHALLENGE.” Hey, that’s the script’s name, kinda. The minions of Brell are scared, but he thinks you never know what you can find in a place like this, this is not because Brell is fearless but because Brell’s ego is so large as to think he can overcome anything and anyone. And that is the one consistent trait of Brell in Acts I and II and it really does center his character. Inside the bistro, we see a dark and dingy “blue collar bar.” The jukebox plays country and western and in the center is “a crude, makeshift octagonal ring.” I am for one shocked Hulk Hogan did not claim he had invented the octagon that UFC uses due to his writing of this script. Humble of him. In the ring a pair of “headbangers” are beating each other bare knuckles. I am not sure the author knows what “headbangers” are, but maybe he’s being literal? As in, they bang heads of others? Let’s let it play out.
(Future Greg: yes, that is what the script meant, the film actually clears it up better).
A raunchy waitress (that is literally her script name/designation) approaches and when Unger asks to be seated, Waitress makes them for cops, but when they deny it, she uses a derogatory name for homosexuals and tells them, “The gay bar’s across the street.” Them’s the jokes, folks. In the ring, the headbangers are beating on each other to the crowd’s delight, as Brell looks on, intrigued, and his minions are horrified at the brutality of it all. Unger wonders where the referee is, and a local patron tells him that the ref stays outside the ring and explains short of murder, it’s anything goes, and the last man standing wins. Brell beams, “Those are my kind of rules.” After attempting to pay for their drinks with a credit card and causing a faux-pas for it for it (cash only, pal!), Unger is threatened with bodily violence by a (different) waitress who promises her brother will rip their lips off. The brother is simply described as a Neanderthal. Once more Brell takes charge and produces a hundred dollars and tells the waitress her brother can keep the change if he beats down the last man standing in the ring, which the brother does, with gusto. Naturally Brell’s minions are horrified by the violence some more, but Brell eyes the cheering masses and says this is what his network needs. Unger is mortified (why does Brell keep such a wet blanket around?), “These people would cheer a hanging.” To which Brell rejoins, “Exactly. That’s the beauty of it.” Disgusted, Unger goes to use the lavatory, which is then described in detail, as being disgusting. Unger’s pal Orbach joins him at the trough (no separate urinals) and Unger predicts “Never in a million years will Brell get this on the air.”
Cut to Brell standing on the steps of his United Network corporate headquarters and announcing his new show “No Holds Barred Battle of the Tough Guy Challenge.” A tourney will be held at “Spike’s Bar, downtown.” Hang on, is this a national network, or regional? The action seems to take place in only one town, and Brell doesn’t name the town at all. Brell announces that the winner will get $100,000, tax free. Meanwhile, across town, we are shown various locations featuring such tough guys as Klondike Kramer, who is working out in a seedy gym, and hearing the announcement. Then there’s a Hell’s Angel named Brock Chiseler, who crushes walnuts with his bare hand and eats them shell and all. There is a construction worker Ernie Biggs who works the compressor drill one handed. And junkyard forklift operator (huh?) Bulldog McPherson.
But all these terrifying men pale in comparison with a con in the Iron Pit prison yard, where pumping iron cons all scramble out of the path of an ominous shadow. “We never see his face. Only quick cuts of his body. Incredibly huge biceps. Tree trunk neck. Treacherous hands.” Wait, how can one’s hands be depicted to be treacherous? Does he have a Benedict Arnold tattoo on one hand and a Quisling on the other? We catch “a glimpse of one his cold blooded eyes. We see him jerk the heaviest weights. He makes a sound like a wild animal.” He is named Zeus. As introduction to a big-bad go, it is effective.In the warden’s office, the warden reviews the document before him. He hears the clank of chains. Manacled feet appear. It is Zeus. The warden is disgusted that the hippies at the parole board tell him that Zeus has served enough time, but if he had his druthers, Zeus would stay locked up forever. Warden slides the papers over to Zeus, who grabs the document and the warden shrinks in fear.
At some sound stage, Sam uses a pay phone to tell someone that all is fine and she has it under control and that he is here. He is Ripper. And he is doing a commercial for a computer. The director tells him what to do: he is to hit two keystrokes and the computer screen will light up and the printer starts up and he will plug the company that makes… something. It is not clear. Anyway, Ripper is to hit two keys, and then the printer will work. Cameras roll, and as Ripper hits the two keys, nothing works. Ripper quickly identifies the problem is with the computer, but the commercial director tells him to just try it again. Same thing happens. A tech guy is called, and looks about, and Ripper tells him, “You might check whether you’re in serial or parallel interface mode.”
That’s right. In addition to being a wrestling champion, French chef, great amateur wrestler, noted badass, antique furniture expert, Harley rider and sex symbol, the Ripper knows IT, because of course he does! This is Hulk Hogan commissioning this story, at least, or personally writing it out himself. This is what Hogan wants people to think he is, does and can accomplish.
By the way, I am guessing the fella who wrote that bit of Ripper’s dialogue once tried to use a non-IBM printer with an IBM PC in the early ’80s. Just a hunch. Anyway, the technician ignores the Ripper and tells all it is busted. Naturally Ripper fixes it himself. No applause from everyone this time around, but Sam is once more intrigued. How could she not be? The man knows French cuisine, fixes PC and fights people for a living.
Brell pulls up in his limo at Spike’s bar. There is a new neon sign over the door: UNITED NETWORK PRESENTS: LIVE, FROM SPIKE’S BAR: THE NO HOLDS BARRED TOUGH GUY CHALLENGE. Inside, the scum of the Earth prepares to do battle as Brell gazes on them with delight, he naturally gets in the ring and once more repeats the name of the contest. One by one, the men do battle with each other, as the crowd of regulars, the curious and the TV tech look on in disgust. The fella who seems to be doing the best is the king of the regulars – Neanderthal. Then the door is slammed open and Zeus wanders inside, backlit by the searchlights from outside on the street that were used to advertise the show in the bar. This is something I find interesting in the screenplay – its uneven attempts to put a modicum of realism into the proceedings.
Zeus goes towards the ring, a Production Assistant tries to get in his way. She is pie faced slammed into the ground. And we finally get the shot of Zeus’s face: “Savage. Scarred. Bitter.” He gets to the ring, and the Ref shoots a look to Brell, who locks eyes with Zeus and likes what he sees. “Let him fight,” the would-be emperor of cable TV commands. Zeus steps inside and lays waste to all the colorfully named tough guys. Back at Ripper’s house, Randy and his High School Sweethearts hang out, while Randy’s wiener pal Craig watches TV alone, forever alone. Craig is watching the battle and calls all to come watch with him. Naturally, Randy and his harem go over to watch as Zeus dismantle Brock Chisler. In the kitchen, Charlie cooks and sings to himself, and then wanders into the room and “can’t believe his eyes. He looks closer. His worst nightmare.” Back at the bar, Zeus has only one challenger remaining – Neanderthal. Zeus beats on him, badly, as Brell beams looking at the horrified faces, and the TV commentator says he is going to be sick. Ripper arrives, with his flight bag (okay, so there is more than one town, and he traveled by air to the commercial shoot, okay). Charlie, still in his worst day-mare, does not notice Ripper. Ripper inquires and finds Charlie has a tragic backstory involving Zeus, for Zeus was the man he was training prior to Ripper and Zeus had it all, strength, speed, and the skills, but he was just too dang crazy and Charlie cuts ties after a month, and then he heard Zeus killed a man after the bell. At no point does Charlie say the name of the man, just calling him by pronouns. Craig decides this is the best time to ask Randy if Ripper could take the fella, and even young Randolph is not sure though he makes sure to say “Yes, of course.” The Ring Announcer in the bar is ready to proclaim Zeus the winner, but knows not his name, so Zeus takes the mic and in “a long, vile whisper” says his name. “The name echoes.” Ripper stares into the TV and Zeus seems to stare back at him. Eye to eye.
The next day at UTN, Brell is all smiles and his minions bask in his victory. “The overnights are in. We were number one in our time slot, earning a 24 rating and a 39 share.” Whoa there, a 24/39 would put the “No Holds Barred Battle of the Tough Guys” up there with the biggest made-for-TV movies in the US in the 80s. More impressive still, this is an ongoing TV series, not a one-off TV event, so that puts it up there with Cheers, Roseanne and the Cosby Show and above Monday Night Football. Sadly, there is a fly in Brell’s ointment. Even as his minions applaud, he notices two refuseniks. One is a family values guy and he hates what the network has become and after 22 years of service tenders his resignation. The other is unhappy over all the negative publicity. Brell counters by saying people may have hated it, but they watched. Oh, and to stifle any mutiny, he brings Zeus into the boardroom, in case anyone wants to talk smack to him directly. All are cowed, but Zeus does not want to be here. Brell ignores Zeus’s objections and keeps yapping about how his show “is going to put Ripper’s show right into the toilet.” Zeus reacts at Ripper’s name and Bell picks up on it.
While the whole thing is still bad, I really do like how Zeus was introduced, and it is interesting to note how Brell is manipulating him even as Brell is being oblivious to things and staying true to his character. The dialogue is still atrocious, and the movie world makes not a lot of sense, but some lines are genuinely funny, mostly Brell’s. Let’s see where it goes.
Up next, a shoot on location, inside an “industrial icehouse,” where a parka wearing announcer announces the newest challenger to Zeus, one Icepick Perkins, who wears “filthy longjohns, a tight turtleneck and insulated boots.” Quite a look that. Zeus appears, bare chested, “oblivious to the cold” and makes short work of Perkins. So the fights are now in an enclosure of some kind, on location? Did we already discard the eight sided ring? Brell watches the ratings go up and gloats. Meanwhile, in another sound stage, the Ripper shoots another commercial, this time involving babies in a nursery. The onset Baby Wrangler (that’s her name/title in the script) cannot get a baby to calm down to shoot the commercial. Three guess who can. Go on. You have three tries. That’s right, Ripper! Babies love him. As do babes. A distracted Sam answers a phone call and says she will call back. Ripper does the commercial and the baby loves him as he changes its diaper like a pro. Man, is there anything he cannot do? Fail. He cannot fail, me lads.
Backstage, Ripper wants to get some food and this time kiboshes Sam’s attempt at an upscale joint that serves Italian food. “No more waiters with accents. This time I’ll choose the place,” Ripper demands. He takes her to a “classic 1950s aluminum siding diner in the bad part of town.” The owner is Sadie, described by the script as “all 200 pounds of voluptuous woman, stuffed in a tight-fitted waitress uniform.” Wowzers. Sadie knows Ripper from back in the day, and tells Sam that Ripper is quite the man, because of course characters only exist to fight Ripper, praise him, be awed by him, and/or serve as his love interest. Meanwhile, Sam tries to advance the plot with all the cunning of Baldrick. She says, “I’m not so sure this place fits the image we’re working on for you.” “What do you mean,” asks Ripper. “I don’t know,” answers Sam. “Instead of you, I could picture that new fighter here. What’s his name… Zeus.” Ripper says that Zeus does not belong anywhere, when two armed robbers burst in and try to hold up the joint. One of the men makes the mistake of laying his hands on Sadie, and Ripper beats on them with a barstool and stuffs one man into a dish washer. Well, at least they are keeping the action snappy.
Next up, a scene from the 1950s, as Ripper and Sam go to check into a hotel, but wait for it – there is only one room left, and the rest of the hotels in the area are sold out. There was a snag with the reservations. Sam frets, but Ripper says they’ll take the room. In their now shared room, Sam gets defensive and pretty much accuses Ripper of wanting to have his fiendish ways with her, but Ripper wants none of that. Sam goes to change in the bathroom, while Ripper takes out a roll of tape and divides the room in half with a sheet hanging over the bed, with each of them having a side. Sam braces and exits to find the Cotton Wall. She is in her frilly nightgown. Ripper is his gym shorts. So, ya know, mood. Ripper shows off the wall and they agree to stay on their side of the bed. Then, a scene introduces the concept of masturbation to the Hogan fans. Sam tries to sleep but hears rhythmic movement of the bed and heavy breathing, coming from Ripper’s side. She looks over to find his feet on the bed and his hands on the carpet, doing push-ups. His muscles glisten and she stares and Ripper catches her looking. Ripper finishes his workout, turns over into bed and the legs of the bed on his side give out, collapsing from under the weight of so much man. Sam’s side of the bed tilts up on an incline and she lands atop Ripper. Ripper makes a joke, Sam tries to roll away, but keeps rolling back onto him. Ripper makes more jokes, and Sam accuses Ripper of arranging the whole thing. Hurt, Ripper leaves, saying he will sleep on the couch. For her part, Sam nervously digs out a phone number, grabs a phone and starts to dial, reconsiders and dials again. Cut to Brell screaming at someone in his office about failing to do a favor for him, and that the person called him and said that their heart is telling them what they are doing is wrong and that they can’t do it anymore. The person is Sam, the mole. Brell goes to hit Sam, but she ducks and scrambles out of the office. Dames, eh?
On a construction site onsite location shoot, Zeus fights construction worker Rebar Lawless. I love the names, script, keep ’em coming. Craig sneaks onto the site, with Ripper’s young brother Randy to watch the proceedings. Randy posits it is a bad idea, but Craig tells him not to be a chicken as they won’t get caught. Hang on, Randy was the hothead, wasn’t he? It was Craig who was a wiener and wanted to get Randy to get his head in the game. I mean, yes, Craig saw the Zeus fight first on TV and called over Randy, but that wasn’t dangerous – it was catching a program on TV. This is sneaking onto a closed set at a construction site to watch Zeus fight in person. It should be Randy telling Craig they should check out this guy live to see what sort of threat he represents to Ripper, and wet blanket Craig telling Randy he has a bad feeling about this. Come on, script, you are screwing up simple things. Randy and Craig watch Zeus dismantle the construction worker, and cameras catch sight of them. Brell, in the control truck (why would the head of the network be on a remote shoot?) spots them and orders Unger to have the security goons bring the lads. Craig and Randy try to run by are stopped and herded by Unger the Minion of Brell and a pair of security guards. Brell goads Randy about seeing Zeus in action. Randy keeps his mouth closed, so Brell says, “Too afraid to speak up? That’s exactly what I’d expect from Ripper.” Wait, is Ripper a last name? That line seems weird. Anyway, them’s fighting words and Randy says he saw what he saw and that Zeus is sick, so Brell brings Randy and Craig to meet Zeus and tell him that to his face. Zeus is changing in the lockerroom, his shirt is off and “his body is like a block of granite. Scars and tattoos.” Uh-huh. Anyway, the boys are scared to say anything, so Brell rips open Randy’s shirt to reveal a Ripper T-shirt underneath. Zeus reacts. Brell tells Zeus young Randolph is the brother of Ripper. Zeus gets closer. “Randy cranes his necks (sic) to look up into Zeus’s vile visage. Zeus drools and slobbers onto Randy’s face.” Zeus calls Randy’s brother “yellow.” Ooh, snap.
Cut to Charlie’s gym, where Randy is working out like a madman. Ripper comes in and senses a disturbance in the Force. Randy tells him what happened and adds that after Zeus said what he said, Randy wanted to call him a liar, but he was scared. Ripper assures him he did the right thing. At Sam’s apartment, a nervous Sam paces and Ripper strolls in, invited. The TV is on in the background. The script tells us Sam turned on the evening news to get her mind off things. Sam confesses to Ripper that Brell hired her to obtain information on Ripper, she was game, thinking that was it, but it dawned on her that Brell wanted to more – he wanted to own Ripper and destroy him. Oh Vince, oh Vince and your paranoia about Ted Turner stealing your talent, in the Spring of ’88. Anyway, Sam begs forgiveness, but Ripper says he forgave her the other day. When he was checking them out from the hotel, he saw the phone number on the bill, realized it was Brell’s and put two and two together. Because of course he did, he’s smarter than Batman and more powerful than Superman, remember? Anyway, Ripper intuits that Sam quit Brell and has had enough. He clarifies forgave her for that, but he did not forgive her for breaking the bed. Yuck, yuck, ha-ha. This naturally leads to playful banter and soon that leads to sexy time, with the two kissing and just as they try to progress, the TV blares an important announcement: Zeus has challenged Ripper, with Zeus on TV screaming it out. And in a nice call back (look, I’ll take what the script can give me), once more Ripper is facing Zeus via TV as he first did when he saw him destroy a fella.
At some high school football field, Ripper plays around with kids, because he loves charities, and the script literally tells us that. The kids are a cheap prop for danger, for Zeus comes on a helicopter, with Brell. Brell calls out Ripper right there on the spot to fight Zeus, but seeing all the scared children, Ripper stands down, because this ain’t the place. Brell immediately calls out Ripper as not being brave or good enough to defeat Zeus, and proclaims Zeus the champion of the world. Hang on, of what? Ripper is a wrestler and that much we know. Zeus is a fighter. Did the script just invent a grand unified grappling and combat arts championship? Because, man, then it is ahead of its time. With the grandstand challenge denied and a championship created out of nothing, Brell and Zeus leave by helicopter. In his (ghostwritten) autobio, Hogan said he was deathly afraid of helicopters. Though that may be another weird tale told by Hogan to appear interesting. If he does have that particular phobia, then did he write this scene to show Ripper at his most vulnerable? All wrestlers are method actors by definition. Perhaps this was Hogan’s way to ensure he would be ready for the scene. Touching really.
In an underground garage of an apartment building, Sam leaves her car and is confronted by a man Ripper beat up by the limo sent by Brell. The goon assaults Sam’s grocery bags and is implied to have designs for her body. She flees and tries to fend him off, but he paws at her clothes tearing them (look, it’s in the script). Then, “the awesome unmistakeable (sic) sound of a Harley-Davidson is heard.” That’s right, Ripper is here.
He uses the bike to scoop up the Rapist with its handlebars, hold on to him by the scruff of his leather jacket and dunks him into an open manhole cover, quipping “Going down.” Because that’s how one deals with rapists. Ripper did more to beat up an armed robber and a man trying to assault him with a lead pipe. Ripper then gets to Sam, and pulls her into his arms. We are left to infer this is Brell trying to settle things, but we never see him give the order. And while the script assures us we recognize the Rapist as one of the thugs who tried to assault Ripper, it was over an hour ago in the film running time, as written, and we only saw the goof get smacked around once or twice, if that, in the space of thirty seconds. A bit of a stretch.
At the high school, Randy bids adieu to his harem and Craig pulls out a poster, inviting the public to come see the world champion Zeus train at his private gym. Randy does not want to go, understandably. Craig eagerly says, “Everybody’s going. There’s no way anything could happen to us. Besides, you should keep an eye on this guy for Ripper.” Randy, meet idiot ball. Idiot ball, let Randy hold you to advance the plot. Let us count the ways this is dumb. First, once again we have made Craig the bad friend, and Randy reluctant, a follow up on the third scene with them, but opposite of the establishing one. Second, everybody is not in fact going. We just saw the harem walk off. We know that the harem and Randy hang out after school and Randy’s house, so we had to chase off the harem to advance this bit of stupidity, and we also contradicted Craig’s assumption. Third, last time Randy and Craig went to see Zeus, they got manhandled, detained and verbally assaulted. Even if Craig is an idiot, Randy is not, so how could he believe “There’s no way anything could happen to us.” Fourth, Ripper is not fighting Zeus, and has no wish to fight him per Ripper’s last actions. So why would young Randolph go see Zeus once more and on behalf of Ripper. It makes no sense. Also, I refuse that scene was written by a professional screenplay writer, because I – an amateur – could easily rewrite this abomination of a scene by two minor tweaks: include the harem, and have the blonde who crossed and uncrossed her legs goad Randy into going because she is too scared to see Zeus up close, but she will know she will be safe with young Randolph around and that’s why he goes along. Also, have Craig be the voice of reason and try to tell he shouldn’t, and rewrite previous scene as Randy going on his own, despite Craig’s advice. And that’s off the top of my head and upon second reading of this script. I know the credited writer of this shlock has only two credits to his name after this film came out, but still, he is a professional and has sold scripts prior. I cannot see him being so out of it as to write that scene as it appears. Here, I believe, are the grubby hands of amateurs.
Back to the plot. At Zeus’s “dark, spartan, basement gym,” a sizeable crowd of impressionable teenagers look on as Zeus works out, near an octagon ring. Brell fields questions from the audience. Orbach whispers into Brell’s ear about Randy and Craig making an appearance, and Brell asks for a volunteer to do some light sparring with Zeus. There are no takers. Zeus, for his part, looks up at Brell with disinterest and focuses on working out. The script has thus far not screwed up Zeus. He is a monster, but a monster of precise motivations and wants. He did not care to talk to executives, or spar with anyone. He’s here to destroy people in the ring. Brell picks out Randy, and all nearby take a step back, except Craig, who now tells Randy not do it. Stupid, stupid script. Randy takes a step forward as Brell goads him about being yellow like his brother… Ripper. This intrigues Zeus, who looks at the kid. The crowd for their part starts chanting “Ripper,” despite coming to see Zeus work out. Traitors. Randy takes off his shirt and leaps into the octagon. Zeus is not amused and gets in the ring. Randy does the five D’s of dodgeball to avoid Zeus, which only makes the fella mad. Zeus finally catches him, drags him into the middle of the ring, makes Randy kneel beneath him. Whoa there, movie. “Zeus puts one hand under Randy’s chin and the other on the top of his head. He starts to twist. Puts over the edge by chanting of the crowd, Zeus grinds Randy’s neck into a grotesque position and looks down in his face. He doesn’t see Randy.” He sees Ripper’s face staring back at him in defiance. “Completely out of his mind, he retwists the neck and snaps it. The grinding sound of crushed vertebrae silences the crowd.” Wow, that escalated quickly.
At Charlie’s gym, Charlie answers the phone and calls for Ripper, it is Craig calling. Outside the gym, a car drives up, screeches to a halt, throws open the back doors and throws out the body of Randy. What? That’s a mob hit. This was a well-publicized workout, and plenty of witnesses saw Randy get beat on by Zeus. Even if we assume some sort of waiver of responsibility was implicit in Randy stepping foot in the ring, and even if we assume authorities do not wish to press criminal charges for what transpired in the ring, because we’re in a place where sports related violence is condoned and ignored, like a hockey rink in Boston during the Canadiens games, then at least what happened afterwards would be criminal and all responsible for the dump would be jailed and sued into oblivion. I understand we live in a universe where a champion wrestler has his own show on TV where he defeats wrestlers on a network and draws boffo ratings for it, and is more famous than everyone else, but still, did the laws change. Are we in an alternate universe?
In the hospital, Ripper is alone at the end of the hallway and talks to himself about how it should have been him and not Randy. The doctor approaches. Randy will live, but he may be paralyzed, or as the doc puts it, “It seems that motor functions on his left side may be severely impaired.” Say, remember how the script mentioned on page two that the Ripper sign (“I Love You” meets “Hang Loose”) is always done by the left hand of the user? You don’t think that will now come into play for young Randolph to let us all know that all will be well by doing that sign, do ya? Inside the hospital room, Ripper talks to a still unconscious Randy, and talks about they will fight this together. In the corner he spots black roses and a card. “Get well soon. Zeus.” Oh snap. It’s on now. Ripper walks into the distance, with Sam trying to get to him, but being held back by Charlie, for a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Ripper goes into Zeus’s gym and tears it apart, as Brell taunts him via a speaker, overseeing the proceedings on the camera. Ripper spots the camera and takes it out with a weight. Brell involuntarily ducks it, but not before agreeing to have Zeus fight Ripper, on Brell’s terms. Before a giant press assemblage, Brell explains that in two weeks, Ripper will face Zeus on Brell’s United Network. In the hospital room, Ripper cares for Randy, in the gym, Zeus trains for his fight by pulverizing cinder blocks with his bare hands. I love me an ’80s training montage.
In his lair, Brell tells all how this fight will make his network number one. However, one man asks him what happens if Ripper wins, and Brell assures him that such a thing will not happen. Eeeevil. In the hospital, as gentle Ripper helps Randy have physical therapy, Zeus keeps doing Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” stuff. But soon it is time for the day of the fight, at the UTN studio. Brell has his minions arrange something with an elevator for tonight. At the hospital, Randy gets wheeled out in a wheelchair by Ripper, who thinks having Randy in his corner will be really helpful, because screw Randy’s PTSD at having to be around the monster who disabled him, Ripper needs some emotional support brother, brother. Ripper is accompanied by Charlie, Craig, Randy and Sam. Ripper goes to the locker room, with Charlie. Sam, Craig and Randy go to a handicapped ramp, as told by an usher. Ripper preps for his match, with little words of wisdom from a worried Charlie. The handicapped ramp leads to an elevator, and a trap, for after Craig wheels out Randy, hired goons shove Sam back inside, get in with her and ride off. Craig then pushes Randy down a wheelchair “at top speed” to warn Ripper, while the goons drag Sam into Orbach’s office, where Orbach points out a huge closed circuit monitor for her to watch the show and the goons shove Sam into a chair, but do not otherwise restrain her. Hmm. In the office is also Unger, who phones Brell to tell him the elevator is now fixed. Brell is delighted and calls Ripper, who has been appraised by Randy and Craig of the shenanigans. Brell tells Ripper to make it look good for ten minutes and then take a dive, or else “you’ll be pushing twin wheelchairs. Do you hear me?” Brell laughs and hangs up. Ripper tells Charlie he has ten minutes to find Sam, and tells Craig to keep track of Randy and himself at ringside.
End of Act II.
Will Ripper prevail? Will Sam escape an easily escapable situation? Will Randy use his paralyzed left side to give Ripper their special sign to show he is no longer paralyzed? What will happen to Brell and Zeus? All these questions and more shall be answered in the next post. Stay tuned.