BRM Reviews… Scooby Doo: WrestleMania Mystery
I don’t know if these two worlds have ever crossed over before, and if they have, I don’t know if anyone has ever analyzed it, but if no one has, I think I am uniquely qualified to be the first because some of you may not know this about me, but I F*CKING LOVE SCOOBY DOO!
We open on a dark and spooky night, with nocturnal creatures making their nocturnal sounds and floating balls of light doing a poor job of being animated fireflies providing some light to the darkness. Suddenly there is a flash of lighting and the fireflies all scatter as a large, dark man draped in shadow walks up the road. This man is the Big Red Monster: Kane.
He walks along the road, with other critters scattering away from his ominous form. Soon we see what has been lighting the road on this dark, cloud-covered night: a gigantic light-up sign that proclaims “WWE CITY NEXT EXIT,” with a giant WWE logo and a giant Triple H (wearing the WWE Title, of course) with an arm waiving a friendly hello and saying “WELCOME TO WWE CITY! TAKE THE NEXT EXIT BECAUSE IT’S JUST THAT GOOD.”
Kane stops to contemplate the sign. We then cut to someone who I assume is The Miz (though the animation looks extremely generic) because he is wearing a shirt that says “AWESOME” on the chest, and he is jogging along listening to his iPod while repeating the mantra “who's awesome? I’m awesome!” to himself. He doesn’t look where he is going and runs right smack into Kane. Kane walking ominously down the road on a dark, stormy night fits perfectly. Why Miz thought this was a good time for a jog, I have no idea.
Anyway, Miz takes a bump. Then, when he realizes who he has bumped into, he lets out a very high-pitched gasp of terror and says “Kane! I thought we’d never see you again after you lost that last match.” Kane goozles Miz and picks him up and I’m all ready to pop for an animated chokeslam, but then the Triple H sign says its piece again, and Kane looks out into the distance towards WWE City and just drops Miz without slamming him down (he did fall on his ass, though, so it’s kind of like a chokeslam right?)
When Miz looks up, Kane has vanished. Miz shouts a bit about how he would have kicked Kane’s ass and then picks up his headphones (he was listening to his own entrance theme- did you expect anything else?) and continues on with his jog. He soon hears a growling sound coming from the woods and demands to know who is there. He is attacked by a giant flame-red bear-thing with glowing yellow eyes. He blocks its initial attack and rolls through its legs. Then he taunts it by saying ‘is that all you got, Yogi?”
The bear-thing responds by smacking him in the face… with such force that it knocks Miz out of his clothes, leaving him wearing just classical cartoon white boxers with pink hearts on them. This attack also left Miz with claw marks across his face (which actually resemble the original Kane mask. Hmm… a clue?).
Miz tries to escape the bear-thing by running back to the WWE City sign and climbing up the giant Triple H (and we get to see just how big this thing actually is). The bear thing chases him and starts clawing away at the Hunter-sign's ankle and Miz says “really?” before it topples over.
The Miz is left under a pile of debris, murmuring “unnecessary roughness” (thank G-d there was no laugh track for this) and the monster bears down on him (see what I did there?) and roars. Fade out into the theme.
We have a specially-written song and a special graphic interspersing both real and animated WWE footage (which I could probably identify as being taken from the opening video for one of the shows if I actually paid attention to those) while the Mystery Machine zooms along on a path of different colors. Much less cool than the old-school Scooby theme. And at the end of it all, we hear a scary growl by the demon-bear.
The cold open out of the way, we start with Shaggy and Scooby playing a WWE video game. You see, WWE is not stupid. They knew exactly what this was from day one: an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Scooby Doo franchise to attract new fans to their product. They know that they won’t get a second chance at this, so they are going to SHILL HARD! If they’re going to have a plot device, why not make it one that also sells products?!
It’s Cena vs. Sin Cara, and, of course, Cena is winning. If you were surprised at this, you’re probably one of those Scooby Doo fans that WWE is trying to court. We then see Shaggy, dressed as Cena (jean shorts, arm bands, wrist bands, and yes- no shirt on) celebrating and talking about how great Cena is and “you can’t see me” and how “no one can touch John Cena.” Then we pull back and see Scooby perched on top of a couch in a lucha mask, and he declares “Sin Cara can!”
Scooby then leaps off of the couch and it looks like he is going for one of those RVD flying thrust kicks, but when he comes down on Shaggy, it is more of a Thesz press. So much for “don’t try this at home.”
I’m sorry. I have to take a moment. This is really f*cking surreal for me.
We then see the game screen start counting a pin and announce “Sin Cara wins!” HOLY SH*T CENA LOST! You hear that, wrestling fans? If you want to see John Cena lose, buy this DVD (although I guess having the player controlling him get jumped doesn’t count as it being a clean loss). Shaggy is a good sport and has no problem with the fact that his buddy assaulted him with a painful wrestling move. They exchange a high-five, and Scooby says “Boo-yah Dooby Doo!”
The game then announces “Congratulations! You just beat the game on the hardest level ever!” (For those wondering, the name of the hardest level ever is “double-triple beatdown extreme.”) Apparently even after you beat the game on the hardest level ever, there is still one more task to complete: The Victory Dance. Scooby must perfectly imitate Sin Cara’s dance moves… including stuff like flips and spinning on your head. What a horribly dangerous video game! Still, we got to see Scooby break-dancing, which is always fun.
After Scooby gets a perfect score, Vince’s image appears on the screen, and Shaggy and Scooby do a “we’re not worthy!” Vince tells them that by beating the game on the hardest level ever and then getting a perfect score on the victory dance, you win a free one-week vacation to WWE City, culminating in ringside seats for Wrestlemania (we also got the classic Scooby gulp and tentative “we did?” that he says whenever it is pointed out to him and Shaggy and that they have accidentally done something right).
Because I am a crazy person, I actually stopped and read the fine print on this, which said that the winner and four guest get to stay at the “Rock Yard” training facility, and might see superstars and divas including… and then it goes on to list the whole WWE cast of the movie before saying that if you are really lucky, you might be able to see Sgt. Slaughter, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Jimmy Hart (I was hoping that these last three would be Easter eggs, hidden somewhere in the background, but they were all showed up in quick succession in a hard-to-miss place, and in case you somehow managed to miss them, they were all pointed out). Then it had instructions warning the contest winners: “do not touch the WWE Superstars as they train, do not feed the WWE superstars. Do not jeer the WWE Superstars because it may hurt their feelings.” That made me laugh.
Of course, the potential for fun and meeting other fans is only their secondary reason for going. The primary one is, of course, “the food!”
Speaking of food, the next scene is at an eatery called “The Burger Binge” (awesome name for a munchies place), where they try to convince the rest of the gang to go with them. They don’t want to go. Shaggy and Scooby get angry and guilt them into going by reminding them of how many times they have been the bait in Mystery Inc.’s traps. They even have a large stack of photographic evidence, including “the times you made us dress like giant tools (to catch the Monstrous Mechanic).” They also bring up various horrible things that have happened to Scooby because of this (“yeah! The hair didn’t even grow back in some places!”)
Fred and Velma give in. Fred wants to use his new camera to take pictures and Velma wants to use this opportunity to “study the parallels between the modern world of WWE and ancient warrior customs.” Unfortunately for the Usos, this thing was probably animated long before their war dance gimmick started. Daphne finally gives in just out of pure guilt, then slumps forward and says “okay. We’ll go to Wrestlemania” in the exact tone that I’m sure the spouses of many wrestling fans have uttered that same phrase in over the years.
The next plot point is that apparently Shaggy and Scooby brought tons of snacks, but forgot to pack everyone’s luggage. Daphne is incensed at this, but Shaggy shuts her up by pointing out that they all wear the same outfits every day anyway.
Then Fred has to swerve to avoid running over a raccoon that was eating a fish, so the Mystery Machine goes careening into a ditch. Thankfully Shaggy and Scooby are unharmed, despite the fact that they were not wearing seatbelts (Not wearing seatbelts, a videogame asking you to do backflips, the dreaded “trying this at home”… WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING MARKETING THIS FOR CHILDREN?!)
So the Mystery Machine is shot, but thankfully John Cena happened by them while he was jogging alongside two dudes in a pick-up truck (or something). Cena offers to give them a hand, but one of the guys in the pick-up truck warns that this isn’t a safe place to be.
AH! Some exposition.
Apparently WWE has hired these two guys, a man named Ruben and his uncle, a large bearded black man who is named “Cookie” (I swear I’m not making that up) to accompany WWE Superstars on their jogs to protect them from possible attacks by the demon-bear. Why they need to jog along the highway at night instead of… well… ANYWHERE WITHIN THE CONFINES OF “WWE CITY” is never explained.
Cena takes off his shirt, revealing his well-muscled chest and just LIFTS THE VAN OUT OF THE DITCH. This makes Shaggy and Scooby fantasize about being all muscled-up like Cena is and makes Daphne fantasize about being with Cena, making her much happier about this trip. She even flat out says “I had no idea that WWE Superstars were so hot.”
Then the raccoon that caused the crash tries to steal a box of Scooby Snacks, but Scooby spots this, chases the raccoon down, and eats it.
Okay. Not really.
He does chase it into the woods, though, but the raccoon hides behind a tree while Scooby goes charging right over a cliff at high speeds and winds up slamming his head into a tree. That one really did happen.
The rest of Mystery Inc. and John Cena give chase, and Shaggy eventually finds Scooby. Then someone shoots a gun. That one also really happens. Apparently this raccoon is the pet of an old woodsman who, for some inexplicable reason is wearing sunglasses at night. He demands to know “what are you doing in my woods?!” Mystery Inc., John Cena, Cookie the pick-up truck driver and his nephew Ruben make the save (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type). Apparently the woodsman doesn’t like WWE City because it eats up his land, but says that won’t happen any longer because “there’s a storm comin’… and we’re gonna watch it blow you all outta here… like dead leaves.” Huh. That sounded evil.
Cena offers Shaggy and Scooby some tickets to tonight’s house show that he just happened to be carrying around in his pocket for his jog. They giddily accept.
We next see establishing shots of WWE City (including the Sleeper Hold Hotel, Royal Rumble Ribs, and Mr. McMahon’s Waffle House). We then see the interior of the arena packed with fans and a voice welcomes us to WWE. Then pyro goes off in disturbingly dangerous places. We see a montage of WWE action, including Santino using the Cobra (and someone taking a ridiculous flip bump for it), Hunter posing, and AJ sexily flipping her backwards… then doing an even sexier moonsault press.
We are then treated to Cena & Sin Cara vs. Big Show & Alberto Del Rio, which was a match too ridiculous to describe, but well worth finding a clip of because of how absurd it was. Michael Cole was doing very basic commentary, including such gems as “that was a dirty move!”
We get a blatant (and frankly ridiculous) weapon shot in front of the ref with no DQ. Velma, playing the role of BRM, wonders why this was allowed. Fred, playing the role of Vince Russo, says “it’s a show, Velma” as if this is some sort of excuse for not following the rules of the show! The MST3K mantra does not apply to wrestling!
Fred tries to take a picture but his shot is blocked by Daphne’s cheerleading for Cena. And I mean literal cheerleading. With pom-poms.
Vince comes out and introduces the new WWE Championship, which he claims is made out of solid gold and encrusted with jewels. It drops down from the ceiling while everyone “ooohs” in appreciation. Apparently the belt is vacant because it was held up after some match Kane had for it. Vince puts it in a cartoon security apparatus and declares that it will remain vacant until a new champ is crowned next week in the main event of Wrestlemania. This is a cartoon, so there is a lot of ridiculous sh*t in here, but the idea that they would announce the main event for Wrestlemania just a week before the show and do so at a house show might just be the most ridiculous.
They drive to the WWE Rock Yard training camp in a three row convertible that I can only assume is Sin Cara’s version of the Bat-mobile. When they get there, we see it has a full gym… and we even see some guys jogging… so why the hell were Cena and Miz jogging along the highway at night?
They drive up to a ring where Hunter is wrestling Ruben. Ruben counters a Pedigree with a back body drop, but Hunter lands on his feet. They stop wrestling and Hunter complements him. Then AJ, Santino, and Brodus all complement him (Brodus’ complement is “Funktastic, baby!”). Cookie grumbles something to the Mystery Inc. gang about Ruben not being as big of a superstar as he thinks he is.
Daphne and Velma are in their hotel room. Daphne is trying to determine which of her two identical green scarves Cena would like better (she had them stuffed in her handbag, so this is not a continuity gaffe with the luggage thing). Velma thinks Daphne is stupid. They overhear an argument between Ruben and Cookie. Ruben says that everyone knows he is good, but apparently Cookie won’t help him get into WWE. Yeah. Hunter, Santino, AJ, and Brodus all put him over, but he needs Cookie’s help to get into the company.
Anyway, the reason for this is that Cookie is apparently an ex-wrestler who blew out his knee, ending his career, and he doesn’t want the same thing to happen to his nephew. He encourages him to go to computer classes instead. Using this exchange, Velma explains booking 101 (“Ruben represents the heroic male aspiring to the status of decorated warrior. His journey is relatable and therefore appealing to a wide audience”). Daphne calls her out for being smarky.
Shaggy and Scooby state that the most awesome thing about WWE is that’ you get all the food you can eat.” Scooby has a dream in which he beats up anthropomorphized food in a wrestling ring floating high above the earth, then turns it into digital Pac-man graphics food and eats it. Drugs may have been involved. Scooby “wakes up” at the sound of Shaggy’s voice, and when he does so, he realizes that he is attempting to eat the demon-bear-thing. The bear chases them around, crashing through buildings. We see The Miz, lying injured in bed, confirming that the bear did not eat him.
Hunter, Cena, Cara, and Brodus notice the racket and go to save them (Brodus doing so with a battle cry of “time to call your mama!”), but are soundly defeated. Reinforcements show up, so the bear-thing throws the Cara-mobile into something explosive, and uses the explosion as cover for its exit.
Fred, Daphne and Velma show up and ask Shaggy and Scooby what happened, so they tell them about the g-g-g-ghost b-b-b-bear. Cookie then says that “the legend is true” and that “the Ghost Bear has come to challenge us all.”
“Well, gang: It sounds like we have another mystery on our hands.”
Kane watches this all unfold from a distance in anger.
We learn that there have been previous attacks inside of buildings, destroying both the kitchen and the video game studio. Cookie insists that it is the work of the Ghost Bear. Vince walks in, and Shaggy and Scooby mark out for “Vinnie Mac. The Boss. The Higher Power. The Mac Attack. The Mac-Daddy. Daddy Mac!”
Vince wants to hire Mystery Inc. to find out who the Ghost Bear is to prevent him from stealing the WWE Title belt, but his security chief, Ms. Richards, says that they “don’t need these kids meddling” because their security is already solid. Vince insists on it, which makes Ms. Richards unhappy. Cena also offers to help, and gives Mystery Inc. a lead!
They go to the roof of the building to talk to the man who knows the Legend of the Ghost Bear better than anyone: Sin Cara! Cara speaks to them through what appears to be interpretive dance, and Cena translates to English for them from the language of “Masked Luchador.” Apparently, many, many years ago, Cara’s great-great-great-grandfather defeated a previously undefeatable wrestling bear (via moonsault doublestomp to the head), and to get its heat back, the bear attacked the town, burning it to the ground (I cannot believe I just typed that sentence). Cara’s great-great-great-grandfather managed to save everyone, but sustained a career-ending bite to the leg. The bear ran off into a cave and was never seen again.
The next morning we find out that Scooby has been framed for stealing the WWE Title. He must have been framed. I mean… we don’t believe that he really did it, do we? Then it turns out that Scooby is WEARING the title belt! And there is security footage of him stealing it! (Let it also be known that at this point, BRM solved the mystery).
So all of the wrestlers look at Scooby in a way that makes clear that they are very disappointed in him. They drag him off, despite his protestations that he is innocent. Then Velma says “JINKIES!” indicating a major breakthrough.
They present their theory that proves Scooby’s innocence, but both Vince and Ms. Richards are skeptical, and Richards declares that Scooby is going to jail (steal the belt when there is a champion and you usually wind up with a title shot. Steal the belt when it is vacant and you go to jail), and she wants Shaggy sent to jail with him as an accomplice. They are desperate to get out of this, saying that they will do “anything,” which set up my favorite moment of the movie:
Vince informs them that WWE City law allows anyone found guilty of a crime to compete for their freedom in the ring. WHAT A SH*TTY JUSTICE SYSTEM! Anyway, apparently this will take place at Mania and the only guy not yet booked for a match is KANE! It could have been worse, though. It could have been Taker, and then they’d really be f*cked.
So Kane shows up, complete with pyro and music and says “I want another shot at the title. It looks like I’ll have to go through you two to get it!” and he says this all while pointing a Scoobert “Scooby” Doo and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. Yeah!
Shaggy and Scooby are scared to death and would rather go to prison, but Velma makes them accept the match. Vince declares that they have one day to prepare, and that if they haven’t yet proved their innocence, the match will kick off Wrestlemania. Can you imagine what it would be like to order Mania and see the show opening with an unannounced handicap match featuring Kane wrestling some random lanky stoner and his dog in a match to determine whether or not the dog is guilty of theft? Would you keep watching?
Mystery Inc., Ruben, and Cookie walk down the street, and in some nice symbolism, there are vultures circling overhead. Cookie gets nudged into helping train Shaggy and Scooby, although he even flat out out tells them that in just one day, he won’t be able to train them enough to do much more than “survive. For a few minutes.” He asks AJ, who is randomly skipping by, to help him.
We then get a fantastic montage of Scooby and Shaggy failing at training while AJ’s music plays in the background.
Ruben is unhappy because his uncle is willing to train Shaggy and Scooby, but refuses to train him.
Mystery Inc. goes into the woods at night to look for the Ghost Bear’s cave because Velma thinks the theft and the Ghost Bear are connected (and empirical evidence shows that, in her experience, this is almost always the case). The crazy old woodsman from before sees them and fires his shotgun at some rocks, causing an avalanche of boulders to come tumbling down towards our heroes. Cena shows up and saves them from certain death by stopping a giant boulder with his bare hands (while his music plays in the background). Velma asks Cena how he knew where they were, to which he responded “Daphne texted me.”
Mystery Inc. and Cena walk into Ghost Bear’s cave. They find the Ghost Bear’s equipment and some evidence to prove Scooby’s innocence. Cena finds schematics for a diabolical plan to shut down WWE! Velma then finds the timetable for this evil plan: a calendar with the date for Wrestlemania circled in red, and “R.I.P. WWE” written on it in big, mean, red letters.
The Ghost Bear jumps Cena from behind, knocking him out. Mystery Inc. runs away from the Ghost Bear, leaving the unconscious Cena to fend for himself. Sorry, Daff, he probably won’t be too happy about that. I think your future with Cena is out the window.
Luckily for Cena, the Ghost Beat chases Mystery Inc. and we get a fun, Rube Goldberg-inspired chase seen (no hallway scene, though, because they’re in a cave). They wind right back where they started the chase. Fred attempts to kill the Ghost Bear with explosives, but all it does is blow a hole in the rock, letting the river drain into the cave. Our heroes fend for themselves, leaving John Cena to apparently drown. Huh. I didn’t see that one coming.
Fred, Daphne, and Velma manage to pull themselves onto an upturned table from the Ghost Bear’s lair and use it as a raft. Rigor Mortis has apparently set in on Cena, as Shaggy and Scooby are using him as makeshift wakeboard. The Ghost Bear pops up and destroys Fred’s photos of the evidence. Cena snores, to let us know that he is still somehow alive. Then they all go over a waterfall. Cena regains consciousness in MID-AIR, then while still falling, grabs the Ghost Bear and throws it away. He then saves Shaggy and Scooby from certain death.
They seem to have washed up on shore in a fortunate location and discover the Ghost Bear’s secret passageway into WWE City. They take this evidence to Ms. Richards and Cookie. Cookie suggests that they should cancel Mania so that the Ghost Bear doesn’t attack it. Richards doesn’t want to because it would mean she has failed in her job as chief of security and she would probably be fired. Richards declares that the show must go on, and Sin Cara says that not having the show would tarnish the legacy of the WWE. Fred suggests that they turn Wrestlemania in a trap for the Ghost Bear. I hope this trap is as ridiculously elaborate as the ones on Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc.
We see everyone ready in their positions, like the escape from the Sarlac Pit in Return of the Jedi. Then Velma figures out where the EMP device that will ruin Wrestlemania is hidden (she got this one before me).
So Wrestlemania starts, and do you remember my earlier question about what you would do, from an in-universe perspective, if Mania actually started with Kane vs. Scooby & Shaggy? Well, surprisingly, the fans in the movie actually react like real fans would and they boo vociferously. The fact that Shaggy and Scooby’s ring names are “Skinny Man” and Dead Meat” probably doesn’t help.
So the Scooby & Shaggy vs. Kane match starts. Scooby and Shaggy are scared to death. Michael Cole informs us that that “after Kane is done with Skinny Man and Dean Meat, we’ll be scarping them off the mat with a spatula.”
Velma does some stuff I won’t spoil on the outside, while Kane gives Shaggy and Scooby a double chokeslam so hard that they bounce off the mat and up over the ropes. Then they get up and run away, totally no-selling the chokeslam (then again, we saw Scooby no-sell a fall off of a cliff resulting in his head being smashed through a tree in the beginning of the movie, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised).
Huh. Their plain fails and WrestleMania goes dark. Didn’t see that one coming. They use their back-up plan to illuminate the arena, which involves setting off what were probably some very unsettling flares for the people in the crowd.
The Ghost Bear attacks, breaking a display about Sin Cara’s great-great-great-grandfather just for spite.
They use some backup generators that were off at the time of the EMP to restore power, and Scooby starts to beat Kane using the dance moves he learned in the wrestling video game. The Ghost Bear attacks but Ruben tries to stop it on his own, almost screwing up the trap.
In the ring we now have the Ghost Bear, an unconscious Kane, Scooby Doo, Ruben, Sin Cara, and John Cena, with Shaggy still tied up in the ropes. Then Fred activates the cage, locking them all in. Michael Cole is astounded that these new competitors are entering the match, and the match is now a cage match. If I am a fan at home, I am thinking “what sort of Vince Russo bullsh*t is this?!
Cara beats the bear (with an assist from Cena)… or not! A false finish!
The bear makes his comeback and takes out both Cena and Cara. Scooby somehow got a bucket of water and uses it to revive Kane. Kane holds his own against the Ghost Bear, then Cena, Kane, Ruben and Cara hold it down while Scooby gives it a shooting star press, which collapses the ring. Apparently this is an alternate win condition as there is no need for a three count before Cole declares Scooby to be the winner (yes- for pinning someone not even in the match). Velma declares this to be awesome.
We then get the standard unmasking scene (“now let’s see who this Ghost Bear really is”), and explanation of the evil plan and motives (“and I would have gotten away with it, too, if not for you meddling kids”). Vince then awards the WWE Title to Shaggy and Scooby while Ruben is accepted by the wrestlers as one of them. Shaggy and Scooby are hoisted victoriously on the babyfaces’ shoulders and the DVD ends everyone chanting “SCOOBY DOO! SCOOBY DOO! SCOOBY DOO!” and if we do not get a “SCOOBY DOO!” chant at Wrestlemania XXX, I will be extremely disappointed.
I had a lot of fun watching this. The mystery was standard fare but was well done, with several possible suspects. I’m certain that this was written by a Scooby Doo writer because a lot of the WWE dialogue seemed to have been written using basic outlines of the characters rather than any real knowledge of them. Only Vince, Cena, and AJ didn’t seem one-dimensional (I think every single sentence Brodus uttered contained an adjective beginning with “Funk”), and none of those three were close to being three-dimensional. Mystery Inc. on the other hand, was handled well, with some semi-subtle, unspoken stuff between Fred and Daphne in particular. Velma didn’t get much attention, but that is, unfortunately, standard fare for Scooby Doo stories.
There were some wrestling related bright-points (the homage to the idea of a Luchador as a superhero was really cool), the appearance of the Smackdown fist, and some fun jabs at the wacky world of wrestling, but those were, unfortunately, small moments of fun that were a needed breath of fresh air from the lame wrestling-related dialogue (“the championship belt isn’t for cheaters. It’s for champions!” and “never underestimate a Diva” immediately spring to mind).
Still, I had oodles of fun watching it, and I would definitely recommend it to a Scooby Doo fan (just think of it like the old celebrity appearance movies) or a WWE fan who doesn’t mind a small dose of absurdity (the animation for WWE guys takes a whole to get used, too, though). A fun mixture of the wacky world of wrestling and new-millennium Scooby Doo.