Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery
A slobberknocker, heavy on the slobber.
Mar 31, 2014 6:22 pm
And yes, I am aware that, even as a WWE fan, this movie isn't made for me. It's a kids movie. One that hopes to convert Scooby-Doo fans to the WWE, or convert WWE fans to Scooby-Doo, or reward those children who are already fans of both. It also harkens back to The New Scooby-Doo Movies of the early 70s which featured guests stars such as the Three Stooges, Batman and Robin, Sonny and Cher, and Jerry Reed (though the franchise never truly quit having guest stars as part of its DNA).
My overall question though, as someone who's familiar with both Scooby and the WWE, is why Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery -- which was released last week on DVD and Blu-ray -- chose to alter the actual space-time reality of the WWE itself. No longer an actual wrestling company, the WWE is portrayed as a geographical place - a land with inhabitants and a culture all its own. WWE City. A town with its own medieval laws, in fact (as Shaggy and Scooby discover that, when accused of a crime, you can opt to battle your way to freedom in the ring). Everyone eats at the same 24-hour restaurant and every show the WWE puts on happens right there in town, in the same arena. Including WrestleMania, which, per the story here, is just a few days away.These changes are just odd. I can easily overlook the strange, heightened action (Cena heaving, and flipping, Big Show out of the ring with ease. Big Show returning almost immediately to smash Cena with a giant picnic table), but the fact that the WWE itself has been transformed into a weird, mystical land is a head-scratcher.
There are a few other curious "da hell?" moments in Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery too that will stick out to WWE fans. All of which had to do expressly with the fact that the story was conceived a year and a half ago (animation takes a while), and no changes could be made once it was locked in. So we are now witnessing what the WWE thought would be. Namely, the masked Sin Cara as a main evener right alongside Cena. The two tag together. They win the day together. And Sin Cara even knows the secret backstory of the ferocious "ghost bear" that threatens the town. Now, of course, the WWE is keeping the Sin Cara character alive via life support by a new guy under the mask (as the real Sin Cara was actually fired).
Plus, the versions of AJ Lee and Brodus Clay (who's usually shown eating a large sandwich) are are a long distance away from the personas you see on TV now. This was "debut Brodus," with Funckadactyls. Pre-Tons of Funk and pre-heel turn. And AJ, who sort of plainly represents all of the Divas here, wears her old Chickbusters gear. In the end, these are non-essential details, but they do make you wonder how the WWE can ever really commit to animation when their characters and stories change so frequently. Back in the Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling days, angles lasted years. So Hogan was going to stay the same, Piper was going to stay the same, and so on. On that note, the only person who's forever safe from animation inaccuracies is Cena, because he's the only guy on the WWE roster that will look and act the same whenever and wherever you see him.
The hook used to get the Scooby gang together with the brawling denizens of WWE City is simple enough. Shaggy and Scooby are huge WWE fans. The kind who constantly play their WWE video game (as Cena and Sin Cara, naturally) and worship at the feet of Vince McMahon. Literally. Because the two even do the Wayne's World "We're not worthy!" bit when Vince walks in a room. Yes, their fandom runs deep as they're even able to shout out a "Higher Power" reference to Vince - a nod to the 1999 Corporate Ministry WWE storyline.The rest of the Scooby gang are less enthusiastic about the product, and begrudgingly accompany Shaggy and Scooby to WWE City after they unlock a special prize package at the end of the video game. Fortunately, Daphne falls for Cena once he takes off his shirt (Shaggy and Scooby fall for AJ too, just to let you know that both sides are covered here), and Velma comes to terms with the fact that you can't use science to explain the WWE. Yes, you have to switch off your brain. Fred doesn't do much here, though I did solidly appreciate his Fred-like notion to "turn WrestleMania into a trap."
One source of perpetual eye-rolls among older WWE fans is that it seemed like, in this Scooby-Doo movie, Triple H was the WWE Champion (one more thing - the title - that has since changed with the TLC Unification match last December). Well, I can tell you that he's not. In fact, the title is vacant here. Though Triple H is clearly wearing the belt on the Blu-ray box cover and a statue of him wearing the belt is shown in the movie itself as part of the sign showing travelers the way to WWE City. He doesn't have many lines though. Neither do most of the stars aside from Vince and Cena. Oh and AJ, who gets to have an extended training montage sequence with Shaggy and Scooby.The mystery itself is fine - lots of red herrings to ponder. Again, the funniest part of it is that the "ghost bear" is part of WWE City lore. Because they are their own community, surrounded by forested mountains. Forever haunted by a bear who used to fight in the ring as, I assume, a "wrestling bear" attraction. So the monster here is truly born of the landscape of this new WWE town.
"Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery" will most definitely delight your children, whether they're fans of one, or both, properties. It's well-meaning, snappily animated, and it's fun to hear the Superstars do their own voices (Miz jogs down the road listening to his own entrance theme, screaming "Who's awesome? I'm awesome!" over and over). Other than that though, the only thing that would draw other eyes to this movie is sheer curiosity. And from that respect, with all the bizarre reality changes made to the fabric of the WWE itself, it doesn't disappoint. So I'm not being dismissive when I say "It is what it is." It will also become clear after a few minutes that the writer wasn't overly familiar with how wrestling shows work, wrestling matches work, or wrestling moves work. The school of thought here was "anything can just happen, whatever." Kind of like how wrestling was portrayed in the Spider-Man movie. Cage Match out of nowhere! You know the drill. Plus, fans cheer things like "Let the games begin!"[poilib element="accentDivider"] Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/Showrenity.
Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery Review
Worlds collide as Scooby-Doo heads to WWE City and becomes involved in a mystery involving a WrestleMania saboteur.