Friday, January 4

Meet The New American Gladiators.

American Gladiators Is Back!

When ESPN Classic started airing old reruns of American Gladiators, I was embarrassingly excited. As a kid, AG was my absolute favorite show; I'd watch every tournament, every season, to see who would emerge and walk away with the $10,000 grand prize for not being killed by some jacked-up bodybuilder with anger management issues.

When I saw that NBC was reviving American Gladiators for 2008, along with snagging the 'Immortal' Hulk Hogan to host, I almost combusted. For me, this show would be the ultimate 80's flashback. The only thing cooler would be if they pulled Larry Czonka himself out of retirement, handed him a microphone and told him to go nuts with the Nestle's Crunch 'You Got Czonked!' Replay of the Night. I was pumped for the return of AG, and I didn't care who knew. I couldn't wait to see if it would be a hit with others in my generation, and now the day is almost upon us.

American Gladiators was the only game show I can think of where the fans wanted the contestants to lose on a regular basis. Audience members would create signs for their favorite Gladiator and wax poetic as to why him or her was the most perfect specimen on the planet. When Hawk or Gemini would turn someone inside-out during 'Breakthrough & Conquer,' the arena would explode as the hapless competitor would lay very still, patiently waiting for emergency medical staff to put his femur back inside of his leg.

In preparation for the long-awaited return of AG, I've assembled a handy guide to the new faces you'll be seeing in Gladiator Arena. Consider this your scouting guide and preview of what very well could be the single greatest thing to ever exist on television without actual, talented writers.

Titan.

Name: Titan

Strengths: The unfathomable reality that this guy can possibly be alive after all the anabolic steroids he’s slammed directly into his freakish hocks.

Weaknesses: Quick, non-deliberate movements. Non-lycra shirts. Holding his unit when he pees. Things that aren’t illegal drugs.

Finishing Move: “The Roid Rage,” where he begins lamenting about his shrinking testicles and wild mood swings, screams, picks up his opponent sideways and breaks him in freaking half over his knee. Repeat until everyone in the studio audience is in two pieces. Dead.

Scouting Report: This guy cannot be a real human being. He looks like an AG cyborg, built by NBC for the sole purpose of holding a giant Q-Tip and making grown men cry. One of these days, his head’s gonna fall off, and the explosion of sparks and wires will finally assure me that I was right.

Siren.

Name: Siren

Strengths: Having really, really nice hair. Knows all the words from every Toby Keith album, for whatever reason. Currently the Xbox Live online leader for Dance Dance Revolution.

Weaknesses: Being loud at parties. Evanescence. Bass Ale. Guys who drive Trans Ams. Herpes and the men who harbor it. Her baby daddy.

Finishing Move: “The Real Siren,” where the original Siren shows up and gets instantly hit by a bus, because she’s deaf and didn’t hear the bus coming.

Scouting Report: When I look at Siren, I know two things for certain. First, I’m sure she’s really good at shooting pool and could drink me under a table. Secondly, I bet she’s strangled a guy with a phone cord in the bathroom of some rundown motel on at least one occasion.

Militia.

Name: Militia

Strengths: Traveling from town to town, spreading the good news and word of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Always has literature and pamphlets on hand.

Weaknesses: Liberals. Birth control. Self-empowered women. Unitarians. Whoever wrote The Golden Compass. The gays and the Jews.

Finishing Move: “The Holier Than Thou,” where he rises up to Heaven while you rot in perish for eternity in the horrid sins you’ve created for yourself.

Scouting Report: I might be way off about Militia. Perhaps he’s more of the ‘Y2K Survivalist’ type, hoarding himself up in a shack during the offseason, carefully manufacturing pipe bombs and writing his latest manifesto of how Tom Hanks and Jennifer Garner are tapping our phones.

Fury.

Name: Fury

Strengths: The superhuman ability to lay in a tanning bed for weeks at a time. Extensive Scrunchie collection. Always smells like coconuts.

Weaknesses: Botox injections. Septum so deviated she gets to park in handicapped spaces.

Finishing Move: “The Horseface,” in which she delivers a devastating mule kick to a downed opponent while eating a Red Delicious apple.

Scouting Report: Maybe I’m being too hard on Fury. Who knows, she might emerge to be one of the more popular, charismatic and athletic Gladiators in the tournament. Or most likely, she’ll be instantly forgotten and delegated to ‘Hang Tough’ for the duration of the season. ‘Hang Tough’ is the Canadian Football League of American Gladiators.

Justice.

Name: Justice

Strengths: Constantly mistaken for Tracy Morgan, he has been invited onto the set of 30 Rock an astounding 18 times.

Weaknesses: Baseball caps. Looking like a jacked-up Chris Tucker.

Finishing Move: “The Rush Hour,” where he teams up with an aged Asian martial artist and gets progressively less funny as the years pass.

Scouting Report: Remember The Fifth Element? Wasn’t that a great movie? I tell you, Luc Besson is an absolute cinematic genius, regardless of the genre he decides to take on. It’s a shame he’s retired now. As for Justice, he doesn’t remind me at all of Luc Besson.

Crush.

Name: Crush

Strengths: A legitimate Mixed-Martial Artist and trained athlete. Being almost too hot to watch without a certain level of depression and stomach pain.

Weaknesses: The silky smooth caress of a certain Wisconsin humorist and author named Ryan J. Zeinert. Lounging around the house, reading the newspaper while wearing my shirt on Sunday mornings after breakfast.

Finishing Move: “The Reality Check,” where she destroys Layla Ali in seconds, once again reminding the world that boxing is a deader-than-disco pseudo-sport run by the mob and talentless thugs.

Scouting Report: Crush’s real name is Gina Carano, who is currently boasting a 5-0 MMA record in EliteXC and a former Muay Thai record of 12-1. On a far more serious note, she is my super-secret girlfriend times a billion and a half, but she nor my wife must never know. Shhh.

Mayhem.

Name: Mayhem

Strengths: Taking down The Man. Can battle against the females in a pinch if there’s an injury. No haircuts means extra spending money.

Weaknesses: Kinda looks like a freakishly strong woman. Finding casual pants that are loose in the thighs. The Man. Airport security.

Finishing Move: “The Jax.” Remember how in Mortal Kombat 3, Jax would take his fists and just pulverize some dude’s head? Yeah, that.

Scouting Report: With a name like Mayhem, I’m expecting nothing less than complete and total insanity from this guy. I don’t even want him speaking English; I just want to see screaming, carnage and piles of dead contestants. Wait, you mean they’re not killing contestants this season? What?

Helga.

Name: Helga

Strengths: Blueberry jellies and jams. Was the backup Defensive End for the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Might have a wiener.

Weaknesses: Allowing the unoriginal producers of the show to name her character Helga, specifically because she’s thick and blonde. Vikings.

Finishing Move: “The Oktoberfest,” where she drinks nine pints of ale and makes off with the smallest man she can carry back to her hut.

Scouting Report: Helga reminds me a little bit of Beth Pheonix, the current WWE Women’s Champion. The only difference between the two is that I would move Heaven and Earth to have Beth Gorilla Press Slam me, and Helga most assuredly has a wiener that I don’t want to see.

Toa.

Name: Toa

Strengths: The ability to have his eyeballs switch sockets with a moment’s notice. Because they’re extremely close together, you see.

Weaknesses: Peripheral vision, finding glasses that fit. See, I’m making fun of his terrifyingly narrow eyes again.

Finishing Move: “The Rock Bottom,” blatantly crossing the copyright infringement line with The Rock and WWE, just to see who’ll notice.

Scouting Report: Toa is the real-life cousin of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, which is very exciting for me, because if he ever decides to bust out a ‘People’s Eyebrow,’ I might laugh until I pee the couch. You see, his eyes…they’re just way too close together.

Venom.

Name: Venom

Strengths: Looking like a pin-up girl from the 40’s or 50’s that could snap your neck without even spilling her Cherry Coca-Cola.

Weaknesses: Prescription medication. Hair dye. John F. Kennedy. The smooth-shaven, Swiss Army-scented neck of a certain young, American humorist named Ryan J. Zeinert.

Finishing Move: “The Consumption,” where she unhinges her jaw and swallows opponents whole. Not nearly as great as it sounds.

Scouting Report: Next to Crush, I think I like Venom the most. I’ve always had a hidden fantasy for female bodybuilders, and finding one that looks like Marilyn Monroe is just icing on the cake. I’m not saying I like it when women beat me up, I’m just…well, maybe just a little bit. I sure hope she has a deep voice.

Stealth.

Name: Stealth

Strengths: The ability to crush a man’s head between her thighs, causing their brains to spoot out like a tube of Pillsbury biscuits in the noonday sun.

Weaknesses: Bizarre lack of knees. Denzel Washington. Constantly asked if she’s “that bitch from The Apprentice.”

Finishing Move: “The Shut Yo Mouth,” where she gets right up in your grill, requesting that you shut your damn fool mouth.

Scouting Report: It’s a true sign of a poor comedic talent when they go straight to jokes about race when they run out of originally funny things to say about something. For this observation alone, I shall offer no scouting report on Stealth. She’s black and scares the ever-loving whiz outta me.

Wolf.

Name: Wolf

Strengths: Wearing wolf-pattern shirts to formal events and gatherings. Being absolutely awesome, no matter the circumstance. Hunts for food when he’s not even hungry.

Weaknesses: Due to his unfortunate resemblance to Dog the Bounty Hunter, gets feverishly hassled by the NAACP. Electric razors. New moons.

Finishing Move: “The Midnight Howl,” where he tears out opponent’s throat and marks territory by peeing on their husk.

Scouting Report: Forget the 80’s version, Wolf might be my favorite male Gladiator of all-time. Seriously, look at this dude! If he wasn’t so busy shooting tennis balls at people, I’d fully expect him to be hunting bison with a Swiss Army knife. He’s boss and totally knows it. I want an uncle like Wolf.

Well, there you have it. You're officially caught up and prepared for the strike-crippled Television event of 2008. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

American Gladiators premieres this Sunday night on NBC.

Comments:
Seriously, since the first promo I saw for AG08, I had assumed Titan was straight from a Madame Tussaud musuem.
 
I guess that dude's like a 3-time Mr. America or something. He's supposed to have the World's most amazing physique; like the next Schwarzenegger, I guess.

I still say he's a robot. We'll find out on Sunday.
 
http://www.mikeohearn.com/

He's doing a bang-up job of convincing everybody else that he's a human. Like you, I'm not convinced. tIf you watch his video, his portrayal of a human is completely contrived and unbelievable.
 
Woooow. Holy mother of pearl. I've been seeing promos like crazy for this show, and since we've boycotted wrestling I doubt I'll tune in. But maybe for the comedic potential. First off, Titan is Flash Gordon on steroids. Siren reminds me of Gloria Estefan. On steroids! Crush is HOT! Mayhem...wait...I think that's King Booker! Helga (now to be known by me as "SausageFest")has lemon face almost as bad as Renee Zellwegger. Or someone just farted. Toa may be related to Dwayne Johnson...but he is no Dwayne Johnson. Mmmm...The Rock...
Anyway. Venom. Meh. A poor imitation of pin-up chic if you ask me. Very bland. And her hair must feel like straw, it's so over processed. I bet she has sharp knees, you know?
 
I think Crush might be my super-secret Crush, too.

Wolf kind of reminds me of Ted Nugent.
 
On second thought Siren more resembles Shakira than Gloria Estefan. But the New Jersey version of Shakira, at any rate.
 
That Titam guy scares the bejeezus out of me. I think you might have something with the cyborg thing. He just looks too...too.
 
The part of me that fully supports the writer's strike and is boycotting all new television finds this whole thing repulsive.

The part of me that loves her some crazy 80's throwback, muscle-and-spandex-bound crazy people smashing and tennis-balling their way through hapless contestants thinks this is totally rad.

A few finer points:

Crush is, in fact, completely hot. This is only amplified by the fact that she's an actual athlete, and a pretty hardcore one at that. Would be mind-meltingly hot with shorter hair, but that's just my preference.

Mayhem appears to have a freakish round muscle where his knee ought to be. I think this might end up being his greatest weakness: inability to run, walk, jump, or move at all, for that matter.
 
Oh Man, I have secretly been awaiting the return AG08 as well. I used to watch it all the time as a kid. It was a great show that promoted good sportsmanship and clean competition. I really hope they don't fudge it up. Anyone remember the crap show that tried to spin off AG? I think it was Knights and Warriors or some such nonsense. The pro's all had "bad" attitudes and super sneaky tricks up their sleeves, look out!


I wonder if AG08 was green-lit before the writers strike or after. just wondering.
 
Emily - although I agree that shorter hair would probably be a good look for Crush, I'm kind of digging the Aeon Flux look of that haircut. It looks like it might be asymmetrical, which I find oddly appealing.
 
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's asymmetrical. Looks rad.
 
for some unknown reason BULL FROG was passed up for a Gladiator.

I know TheCDP tried out to be a gladiator because I found his audition photo

Lastly they found the greatest Gladiator of all but couldn't cast her because... well... she poops rock
 
Thanks for the rundown, man. Now I can stay topical despite my lack of an antenna.

I'll root for Justice. May his hair reign forever.
 
We interviewed Hulk Hogan via satellite yesterday. I was hoping he would've ripped his shirt off at the end of it, but what can you do?
 
Justice has hair like Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man
 
MOst of us at work have filled out applications to be contestants on AG08.

It seems like a terrible idea in the light of day.
 
In the Joust or whatever, you fall into a pool if you get knocked off the beam. Count me OUT.
 
We interviewed Hulk Hogan via satellite yesterday

Is he making the NBC rounds?
 
The pictures are blocked here at work, but whichever one is black was in a scandal on the news websites for doing solo g@y p0rn. I don't care, I'll still watch.

The AG tv show. Not the p0rn.
 
I like how all of them are named for myths, adjectives, or verbs.

Except Helga.

Helga.

Helga, the Norwegian dream.
 
Damn, I step away for an egg salad sandwich, and I come back to see a ton of comments, plus the support of Digg & Fark. Well played, Internet.

IMS - Titan is just insane. I normally hate guys like this, but he's almost too perfect for even fake reality TV.

MAUS - You boycotted wrestling? I sure wish I was as strong as you.

HATHERY - Wolf is God. End of story. Crush used to be just known in MMA circles, but she's about to blow up, and probably make the MMA scene just a little bigger.

KAREN - Totally. I can't wait to see if this guy can actually move around or not.

EMILY - I'm also torn about how much I can enjoy this show without being seen as an idiot. I'm instantly reminded of the Bill Hicks "Go back to bed, America! Here's American Gladiators!" bit from Rant In E Minor.

That being said, I'll be watching because it reminds me of when I was happier.

Crush...man, I knew who she was beforehand, but now I'm YouTubing her MMA fights like crazy. Also, big ups for appreciating the short hair. She looks hot and all, but a shorter version of that bob would pretty much be the end for me. I've frequently stated that all attractive women look increasingly more attractive with short hair, and I'm rarely proven wrong.

BLUSTACON - How did you know I was raised a poor, black child?

MORGAN - A vote for Justice is a vote for PAIN.

BENJAMIN - No way! We're discussing this over dinner tonight, no exceptions.

JT - I had this secret fantasy that someone at NBC would see this post and challenge me to appear on the show. In retrospect, that wouldn't be funny for anyone. My pale, doughy body dry heaving during the Eliminator is far from 'Must-See TV.'
 
BLU - I did some more legwork on Helga, and she's actually pretty good looking. I have a soft spot for those Nordic Viking women.

DOM - I just read that somewhere. How can you do solo gay porn, though?

HATHERY - They're use of water makes me think they're just recycling the old Dog Eat Dog set.

I think I gave NBC a lot of free publicity today.
 
I have a former co-worker who has applied to be on The Amazing Race every single year. I don't really watch that much "reality" style programming. The whole phenomenon of choosing to run the risk of being shown in the worst possible light on national television to achieve some kind of minor celebrity status via reality tv is really weird to me. But this kind of show falls in that nebulous realm between reality and scripted, so it's like wrestling with considerably less potential for blooshed...and where's the fun in that??

We had to boycott wrestling because my son is in that "emulate everything he sees and hears" phase. Making allowances for the Power Rangers is bad enough.
 
MAUS - I hear you. Gotta protect the kids and your tolerance for annoying catchphrases.

I'd never be on this show, mainly because the audition process is crazy. To get on there, you really have to be just as strong as these bodybuilders and whatnot. They don't want an hour of people like me getting sent to the hospital.
 
I've frequently stated that all attractive women look increasingly more attractive with short hair, and I'm rarely proven wrong.

Hooo boy, you and my fella would get along famously (on that count, at least). Of course, I'm of the same opinion, but I may or may not be a leetle bit biased.
 
This is the last 5 minutes I'll spend paying attention to American Gladiators. It was fun the first time in a low budget terrible way...this is awful, awful programming which we're only seeing on TV because it's cheap to produce. It a network cynically saying "people will watch anything so there's no reason to bring this writers strike to an end".

Now CDP, you have to understand that this isn't a personal attack...you liked it as a kid, and who doesn't enjoy nostalgia? Watch it, I hope you enjoy it but I also hope everyone understands that the cost of watching this is probably going to be no "The Office" of "30 Rock" for the forseeable future.
 
I agree with everything Will said.

I just wished he hadn't teabagged our CDParty. Ultimately, AG08 will no doubt leave us highly disappointed.
 
I thought I had heard about AG coming back before this whole writers strike ordeal, but that be proof of just how short-term my memory is.
 
EMILY - I'm glad we're all on the same page, here. Never change your hair, by the way. Just sayin' is all...

HATHERY - I want to say that the show was green-lit before the strike, but it could have been a preventative thing.

WILL/MOE - Will's right, and I made a note of that in the post itself, referring to it being what we'll need to accept while the strike sadly continues.

Also remember that the BeTheBoy household has every reason you can think of to despise what American Gladiators represents; crap for the masses that doesn't need talented writers. It's a guilty pleasure, no doubt about it. It's the reason why the essay itself is funny; we're not talking about Masterpiece Theatre, here.

I like it (and liked it) because it is crap; it's no replacement for Lost and 30 Rock. I take no offense to Will's bashing of a show that's been revived on camp appeal alone.
 
Glad you understand that my problem lies not with you but the fact that NBC gets paid no matter how ironically people watch the show.
 
That's if for my buzzkill comments, please resume the scheduled tomfoolery.
 
At the risk of offending Will, I have to say this writer's strike has provided a little breath of fresh air. My wife and I are minimalists when it comes to TV. Meaning we only have basic cable. Do we miss a lot of quality programming on Discovery, Animal planet and BET? You betcha. But network TV had kept us more than entertained at night.

Now that everything is a rerun, we haven't been turning it on as much. We'll sit by the fire instead. Reminds me of when we first moved in and had 4 fuzzy channels over the aerial. We played a lot of cribbage.

It has been nice not having the tv on. Having lots of things to watch is kind of like having pie in the fridge. If it's not there you can't eat it and let's face it, we all like pie.
 
Where the hell are the British versions of these shows!? You can't even get wrestling on terestrial channels, and the ones on digital are all crap anyway.

Can you even imagine this show in England though? We would have wrestlers like 'Scouse', 'Tetley' and 'The Duke'.

I'd watch it!
 
that might be the single funniest thing you ever posted... the subtle humor in some of their hobbies had me crying
 
I know, The CDP picks out books based on covers... and WINS!
 
It's a little know fact that I was suppose to be in the new incarnation of "American Gladiators" under the name "Whiny Bitch". I just couldn't figure out how to work the giant hamster ball.
 
@Will: Yes, NBC gets paid, but they don't get paid *as much.* Ad space prices depend on multiple factors, and your audience is one of them. I doubt AGO8 is going to pull the same viewership as "The Office."

@THECDP: OMG, you're a schmoe-lite!
 
Schmoes and Schmotography:

http://www.bodybuildinglive.com/seriousaboutmuscle/publisherspage/20051001/

Oh, the things I carry with me from my serious weight training days...
 
Okay, I was about to compare Schwartzenegger's Olympia days to a a modern day Ronnie Coleman and discuss Arnuld's lack of leg development, but that may be too butch, even for me.
 
Carrot Duff...there's a lewd joke hiding in your comment about a Gladiator named "Tetley". I just don't want to be the one to point it out.
 
I think Wolf looks like Ben Stiller's character in Dodgeball.
 
WILL/BLU - The strike has taught me that I might be able to live without TV, but I honestly never want to find out. Ever.

CARROT - It seems as if American Gladiators is the only game show we haven't blatantly stolen from the UK. Cosmic.

KEVIN - Thanks! I also found the subtle stuff to be the funniest. I'm glad others appreciated it.

CAVEMAN - Can you believe that they didn't bring back 'Atlasphere?' What a buncha bull rip.

SLACKMISTRESS - For as much as I bust on (and should probably hate) jacked-up folks, my viewing habits dictate that I love them more than anything. I'm not sure what that means, and I'm too scared to think about it for very long.

MAUS - I was thinking the same thing. I have a feeling his special move would have to be censored from prime-time viewing.

VINCE - I just realized that. Welcome aboard, by the way! Don't be a stranger!
 
I just read that Schmoe essay. HIlarious! It makes that beer commercial where the guy is taking ballet to a Ho Nutha Level!
 
Can you even imagine this show in England though? We would have wrestlers like 'Scouse', 'Tetley' and 'The Duke'.

That is freakin' hilarious!

I think Wolf looks like Ben Stiller's character in Dodgeball.

Woah, you're totally right! I was trying to figure out who he resembled, and the best I could come up with was Ted Nugent. You're spot on.
 
We're shutting off the music at the Idiot and maintaining a minute of complete silence at 8:59 in anticipation of AG08.
 
There is a list of people's favorite new american gladiators here

http://seekler.com/lists/Favorite+American+Gladiators

my favorites are crush and venom.

What are other peoples favorites?
 
Crush times a billion.
 
Crush and HELLLLLLLLGA!
 
Wolf and Crush, although I like them for VERY different reasons.

Mayhem sucks. Bad.
 
Justice is huge.

Wolf is even cooler than I thought he'd be.

Crush is perfection realized.
 
I am perfection realized. Duh.
 
True, but I already realized you!
 
Holy crap, it was a complete accident, but I ended up watching it last night. Crush didn't get nearly enough face time. Wolf is definitely the jacked-up love child of Ben Stiller's "Dodgeball" character and Ted Nugent. Mayhem was supremely disappointing (he stepped on the contestant's platform BOTH times!?).

It was obvious that no writers were behind any of the dialogue. Yikes. Still, my favorite line of the night was the announcer repeatedly saying "The shots of Justice!"
 
You totally love it, just admit. :)

Crush and Wolf had better be all over my TV tonight. Mayhem's double DQ was hilarious.

"Justice was served!"
 
Mayhem's double DQ was hilarious

Further proof that simply juicing the shit out of your muscles does not also make you an athlete.
 
At the very least, it doesn't make you follow directions.
 

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