Anyone remember that time when Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and the Macho man were on Baywatch? No? How about Vader and Kevin Sullivan? Still no? Don’t feel too bad, I didn’t either and I’m sure a lot of Baywatch fans barely remember it since a lot of what fans DO remember is Pamela Anderson running in slow motion for the opening credits and then, yeah, not much else. If it wasn’t for scenes of Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth running around in their lifeguard outfits I don’t think a lot of guys would have tuned into this show. As it is this episode in which Ric Flair shows up to shut down the gym because he’s ‘going to own it’ is one of the more forgettable ones. It was almost like watching a promo for a pay per view, which in fact the match did end up being apparently.
I think it’s pretty easy to assume that the transition from the WWF, which it still was back then, to regular TV dramas was still a rather difficult thing back then. Each wrestler was still stuck so firmly in their onscreen personas that regular acting wasn’t even a consideration they took into account. I mean come on, Kevin Sullivan was wearing a business suit and his stage makeup for crying out loud. Flair was his usual self, starting out animated and then bouncing around yelling “Wooo!” at the top of his lungs by the time he got in the limo and dashed away. Vader was, well, he was Vader. Smashing a basketball between his bare hands, yeah not that impressive I agree, was about the only thing he really did during this episode.
Hulk Hogan got to be the good guy of course as he always was back then, and Macho Man got to be the brooder which he’d become after a while. I was really hoping for a “Oooooh yeeeahh!” or two from him in that same growling voice that made him so popular. And what’s the whole episode about? The land that Flair is about to buy and turn into condos is an important area for people to come and work out in since it serves the community. And what’s Hulk Hogan’s idea for keeping Flair from getting his hands on it? A wrestling match of course.
Anyone that didn’t know how this was going to end needs a serious refresher course on the WWE and how it used to be run. Also by this time it seems like Hogan had already made his way to WCW since he mentioned the title to Flair. Obviously it was Hogan’s turn to win though since he took on Vader and beat him like he was a novice. This was more or less an episode meant to gain more interest by using big, muscular men that would try to push a story that could be intriguing enough to get people’s attention. Somehow I still think people were looking at Pamela Anderson more than the Hulkster.