Happy Hanukkah to all who have been observing the Festival of Lights; sorry there aren’t any cool TV specials for you. Christmas on the other hand is overflowing with holiday specials. From almost the beginning of television episodic shows, there have been TV specials celebrating Christmas. But for every “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special” there was a “Casper’s First Christmas” to balance things out. There’s a lot to watch, but also a lot of crap. Still, if you know where to look you can find just the right special to suit your needs.
My family makes it a custom to watch some of the best of the best holiday specials and movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Anything even remotely related to the holiday is fair game for family movie night consumption, from Batman Returns and Die Hard to Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too.
When looking at the staggeringly vast amount of specials that we’ve had over the years, a few jump out at my WWE-watching self. So, without further ado, THIS is your “WWE ROSTER AS HOLIDAY TV SPECIALS” breakdown of 2017.
Let’s do it.
MR MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL
Released in 1962, this was the first animated Christmas special. It ran almost every year from 1962 until 1986 before only showing up sporadically on basic cable. NBC brought it back in 2012 only to find there wasn’t much demand. It moved over to The CW in 2014 but no one watched it there either. The trouble with the show is it’s simply not great. It’s an off-brand special for a character that few people care about because it never took off the way Bugs Bunny or Charlie Brown did. There was always that one weird kid in school who grew up watching and loving it, not realizing how meh everyone else is about it, but that’s about it…
Kinda like Dean Ambrose.
Harsh? Yes, but fair. Dean still has his fans, but most of the love comes from those who remember him in the beginning of his WWE career. He certainly hasn’t been given any favors by the creative team over the past few years. He’s bounced from SmackDown to Raw but has struggled finding the same groove either with management or fans that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have. He’s the legacy pick, but not anyone’s first choice.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Oh man do I have complaints about this bad boy
To keep it simple, Rudolph is the story of a handicapped kid who is hated by his peers and would-be mentors, talked down to like he was a black man in 1962 Alabama, and eventually exploited for his handicap (by the very ones who had ostracized him) when its value was suddenly apparent. There’s also some classic 1960’s chauvinism/sexism at work and depending on how deep you want to take the subtext, some possible homophobia toward the poor little wannabe dentist. Now it’s here where I would say: Homophobia? Sexism? Racism? How can anything in WWE be linked to those things! When has WWE ever been sexist or racist or homophob—I can’t. I’m sorry. I’m laughing too hard. I’m sure I could find some random Ahmed Johnson vs Goldust promo from 1996 that would probably cover all those bases in a three minute segment.
But I won’t!
Instead let me boil down the Rudolph special into one phrase: Surface level fun, with some terrible undertones in the subtext…
Kinda like Seth Rollins.
Look at it this way: Rollins is the evil, manipulative, back-stabbing, sellout who ruined The Shield so he could get in good with The Authority. After a lengthy run at the top, he suffered a terrible injury and then returned…as a babyface. He never changed; we just stopped being angry at him and started cheering him. He flips and he flies and he puts on a show, but under the surface is an evil man just waiting to be unleashed again.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
I think the best word to sum up this 1970 special would be “average.” It’s not terrible. It’s not stellar. It’s not particularly memorable. It’s mostly just an average across the board, nothing remarkable at all, TV movie. You put it on in the background for kids to watch while you wrap presents. It’s not something you’re going to shut off the lights, pop some popcorn and make a night of…but then suddenly, halfway through it, there’s an acid trip and this thing becomes awesome for all the wrong reasons…
Sort of like Matt Hardy.
Let’s be fair, up until a couple years ago, Matt was the Ringo Starr of the Hardy Boys. Jeff was the crazy stunt guy who got the main-event push. Matt got…well he got screwed by Edge and Lita. That was his big claim to fame. But then suddenly, a bored Matt Hardy become broken Matt Hardy and turned TNA into “must watch for all the wrong reasons” TV. Now he’s “woke” in WWE and who knows how crazy things will get, but I’m just happy he’s no longer the boring, other brother of Jeff. We’re in the middle of a great acid trip; let’s just enjoy the ride because it’s better than what we were getting.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
Frosty’s TV special is a staple in our house. We all love frosty; who could hate him? Nevertheless, let’s be real here: The show is big, dumb, ridden with plot holes and overflowing with logical inconsistency, but that intro (when that hat goes on his head and he shouts “happy birthday” because he’s a newborn moron) is so catchy....
Sort of like Bray Wyatt. Catchy intro, big and stupid, says nonsense and…actually, wait a minute: Big, dumb, handicapped by plot holes and replete with logical failures…Did Vince McMahon write Frosty?
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Idealistic, with its heart and sensibilities on its sleeve and in the right place, Charlie Brown’s Christmas special is a delight from beginning to end. And yet, it’s a hair below the Halloween special that hit all the right notes…
Sort of like Cesaro. I could watch Cesaro wrestle a phone book. I don’t know if that analogy makes any sense but it conveys how much love I have for the Swiss Superman. He’s remarkably fluid, stupidly strong and though he’s never been the greatest mic-worker, he’s genuinely likeable and charismatic in the ring. Still, he’s not quite as hot as he was before being awkwardly paired with Heyman and then injuring his shoulder, but still, he’s great.
I could make a joke about grabbing a brass ring and Lucy holding a football but I won’t.
A GARFIELD CHRISTMAS
A product of its time, Garfield’s Christmas special is simply, very, 1980’s. The character was a weekly TV staple (Garfield and Friends) in my house growing up, so I have nostalgic attachment to this special. I recognize that the show hasn’t aged the most gracefully; it’s probably not good in large doses, but give me just a little here (Halloween) and a little there (Christmas) and its like being a kid again…
Sort of like Harper and Rowan, the so-called “Bludgeon Brothers.” These guys just look like they stepped through a time portal on some long lost episode of Prime Time Wrestling and appeared on SmackDown, in all their 1980’s cheesy, bigman tag team glory. I mean look at this
and tell me you don’t think about the Titan Era just a little.
A MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS
My personal favorite Christmas special, A Muppet Family Christmas is—like the Muppets themselves—a heartwarming, charming, funny little acquired taste. You probably either love it or hate it, but if you love it there’s no convincing you otherwise. It’s cheesy and wholesome, delightful and weird...
Just like John Cena. He’s charming, funny, dorky, wholesome and safe. Because of that some people may be put off, while others will just want to cozy up to him like a giant teddy bear. Whatever your feelings, you can’t deny the impact he has had on countless kids.
THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
That is all.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Let’s see: Lives above everyone, reclusive, hates happiness, revels in misery, does most of his evil stuff in the shadows and hardly ever is seen by anyone anymore, but when he finally does come around you can’t hate the guy…
Merry Christmas you crazy old man.