A couple of days ago, after some chatter on Twitter, I came across an article in The Hollywood Reporter that certainly caught my attention. Though the article is a little over a year old, MTV Studios is apparently somewhat working to revive one of their signature shows from my mid-teen years. I’m talking about Celebrity Deathmatch. And they are reportedly bringing Ice Cube in to be executive producer and voice actor. It would certainly be interesting—not to mention nostalgic—if it does return. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Celebrity Deathmatch.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the show in August 1998. During the build-up to the WWF Championship match at SummerSlam, there were numerous promos on the WWF Raw Is War, Shotgun Saturday Night, and Sunday Night Heat shows about Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon settling the differences in the Deathmatch ring. I decided to tune in to MTV to watch.
What it meant to me then? On first look, I found the show quite fascinating. The fighting was pretty graphic…even for claymation. I liked that the matches were basically no disqualification matches to the death. The weaponry used was pretty elaborate and brutal. More than the individual matches were the various characters that made the show go. I really liked Johnny Gomez. He reminded me of a cross between Tony Schiavone and Jim Lampley in terms of his professionalism in calling the matches. I also liked the way Mills Lane officiated the fights: he was fair, he was firm, and he usually let you do what you needed to do to win short of actually shooting with a firearm. Stacy Cornbred was pretty cool too…though it was messed up when she spontaneously combusted.
What it means to me now? Looking back on the show some 21 years later, I can’t believe my parents actually let me watch it. Nevertheless, it was a really good show. I think it would have a place in today’s time…especially with the social, economic, and political divides in the nation.