Grand Rapids Michigan is a pretty cool place. We’ve got minor league teams tor the Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons here locally, which is always a fun and affordable way to spend an evening or afternoon. Additionally, GR has twice (at least) been awarded the title of Beer City USA, based largely in part to the number of breweries in the area, which I also enjoy. Another cool feature is the Movies on Monroe, where every Friday through the summer they do a double feature of movies on a big LED projection screen. Recently, we attended the double feature of Space Jam and Star Wars. My kids had seen Space Jam many times before, and it sits firmly in my list of favorite movies.
Let’s set the stage, assuming for some reason you haven’t seen one of the best sports movies of all time. Aliens live on a planet/amusement park called Moron Mountain, and their boss tells them to get the Looney Tunes to perform on their park, because their park/planet is now seen as being quite lame by it’s patrons. The Looney Tunes ask to give them a chance to defend themselves by playing basketball, since the Aliens are tiny and weak, and the Tunes are all much bigger. Those aliens then go steal the powers of some of the NBA’s best talent (Muggsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and Shawn Bradley) ,in order to beat the Tunes. Michael Jordan, being retired at that time to play baseball, wasn’t one of the aliens options for talent to steal, and the Tunes recruit him to beat the Monstars and keep them out of slavery on Moron Mountain. But what if instead of choosing basketball as their method of defense, they picked wrestling because those aliens appear small and weak? Well, that’s the idea behind this post. Let’s explore some suggestions on whose powers the Monstars would have stollen, and who would ultimately be tasked with defending the Looney Toons from slavery on Moron Mountain. Yes, these are things I think about.
So we have to think of some things first. What time of year is this all taking place. This part is tough to figure out. At first, I thought it was a simple answer, but it really isn’t. Jordan is clearly playing baseball for the Barons, meaning that it is during baseball season right? And yet, there are NBA games going on as well, as evidenced by the fact that the Monstars steal the powers of the NBA players. There isn’t a whole ton of time in the NBA and MLB seasons when they overlap. Maybe a bit in October, but in the 90s, the NBA season started in very late October or early November, when I believe the double A baseball is clearly finished. Possibly they made the playoffs, but even that should be done by late October/early November. Anyway, then we go to the spring. This year, the Barons began playing baseball in early April, and the Pistons played until mid April. To the best of my knowledge, this is when the movie would have had to taken place. Why is this important? Well we need to establish which wrestling events were taking place at the time for the Monstars to have stolen talent from, as well as what style of wrestling we are talking about.
With this taking place in the Spring, approximately early to mid April, then we are looking at Freestyle for sure, and this past April 24-27, we’ve got the US Open taking place! This is clearly when the Aliens would have gone to find talent to beat the Looney Tunes. In the place of Muggsy Bogues, my assumption is that the Tunes would be grabbing Cody Brewer. Brewer is flashy, and dominant, and I believe the throw he hit against Megaludis in the finals to win the tournament would have been enough to catch the Aliens attention. After all, the aliens just picked Barkley because Patricia Heaton’s husband said that “Barkley was killing the Knicks”. That’s all it took for them to steal his powers. Not saying Barkley wasn’t incredible, but a little flash goes a long way, and Brewer isn’t one to shy away from big moves and high scores. Also the Punisher Tattoo is menacing. It should be noted that in every situation, the winner of the weight class wouldn’t be the one being picked by the aliens. The basketball players lost their powers mid game, so it’s likely that the wrestlers would lose their powers mid tournament (or mid match in some cases) therefore altering the US Open results entirely!
I’m skipping over 65kgs because Yianni won. Not that he isn’t great, but I’m fairly confident that he’s an alien also, so I’d guess the aliens would just give a knowing glance and nod to Yianni, who would nod back, and they’d move on to the next weight. I know he didn’t win the tournament at 70kgs, but in the place of Larry Johnson’s character from Space Jam, I’m going with Alec Pantaleo. For those of you who don’t know Larry Johnson, he was a physical specimen. An absolute monster who had insane speed, and absurd explosiveness for someone his size. When I think speed and explosion, I think Alec Pantaleo. Also he too is a physical specimen, and looks very frightening in a singlet. He’s for sure getting his powers stolen by aliens.
IMar is also having his powers stolen. All of a sudden the depth in the US at all of our weights is taking a major hit. He tech’d his way to the US Open finals, and knocked off a very dangerous and under appreciated Tommy Gantt. IMar’s punishing style, and super cool tattoos (Aliens love cool tattoos), are too much for the Monstars to resist. Dieringer on the other hand, despite also dominating the US Open field, does not have his powers stolen. My though process behind this is that he tech’d everyone too quickly. If the Aliens don’t know who to be watching or looking for, then they likely would have missed his matches. Moving through the rest of the weights though, it seems likely that the eventual champs would have all had their powers stolen. Downey (sweet tattoos and hair), Bo Nickal, Kyven Gadsen, and Adam Coon all lose their powers to the Monstars as well. Those guys all are dangerous, and had very strong showings throughout the tournament. In Downey’s case, he also tried to fight someone in the parking lot after winning the tournament, so I think he’s the person that gets his powers stolen last.
Now that the Monstars lineup is set, we have to figure out who the Looney Tunes recruit to help them defend themselves against comedic enslavement. In Space Jam, Michael Jordan didn’t have his ability stolen, because the Aliens didn’t think they needed to scout Double A Baseball to find the best basketball player of all time. Do we go with recently retired types like Logan Stieber? Do we go with coaches like Cael, the Brands brothers, John Smith, Dan Gable, Cary Kolat? Do we go with guys who have left wrestling to do MMA like Logan Storley, Ed Ruth, Ben Askren, Daniel Cormier, Max Roskopf? Do we simply take the guys who were sitting in the Final X seats already, and have a strong lineup of Colon, Burroughs, Dake, Taylor, Cox, Snyder, and Gwiz? No, that’s too many. We will need the Looney Tunes to compete at some point here right? So we can’t go with the whole squad. What makes the most sense to me, is simply inserting Jordan Burroughs into the Michael Jordan role. (A) He’s amazing. (B) I feel like he’d be a great actor (evidently Will Smith got the role on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air without auditioning or anything. Nobody thought to even question whether or not he’d be good at acting. He just got the role, and I feel that same confidence in Jordan Burroughs that people must have felt for Will Smith) (C) The name thing is too perfect. You know, Jordan and Jordan. (D) Teaching Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck how to hit blast doubles and do crazy scrambles is the montage I didn’t know I wanted, but now know that I need. Also, the best Looney Tunes are clearly Bugs, whose athleticism is incredible. He’s been dodging bullets from Elmer Fudd like he lives in the Matrix. The Tasmanian Devil, who will be a beast if he can keep that pace up for 6 minutes. The roadrunner, who we know can keep that pace up, and as long as he doesn’t stall out for running, has elite speed and quickness. So yeah, Jordan Burroughs teaching the Looney Tunes is the right route.
Maybe the most essential part of the entire movie, and a key component to this reinvention of the film, is the Bill Murray character. In Space Jam (the basketball version), most of the Tune Squad was hurt by the Monstars through the course of the game. It’s the 4th quarter, and they are short a player. Out of nowhere, Bill Murray is there to save the day (an oft overlooked scene is when Daffy asks how he got there, and Bill briefly explains that the producer of the movie is a friend of his, and he called in some favors and had a teamster drop him off). It’s tough to imagine replacing a Hall of Fame actor like Bill Murray with just anyone, let alone someone in a wrestling movie. You can’t just call back Bill Murray for this spot either. You need someone who wrestled to take this role. The list is better than you would initially think. Matthew Modine (because Vision Quest), Mario Lopez, Ashton Kutcher… So 9 times out of 10 I’d land on Kutcher and think this is the right call. He’s young enough to play the role, wrestled, been seen at an Iowa dual with his lovely wife, but not this time. This time, it goes to another true Hall of Fame actor. The right answer for this role, is Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is notorious for doing his own stunts, and for taking his roles, and preparation, extremely seriously. I like to picture Tom Cruise at the OTC for months training with the World Team, and coaches, just for this movie. He’d be excellent, and good luck convincing me otherwise. This part is Tom Cruises, and he likely wins an Oscar for it. I’m ashamed to admit that while initially writing this, I had forgotten the option of Jay Mohr, who has been a guest on our show, and is currently coaching in California at the High School level. He too would be a great choice, clearly providing the comedic chops necessary to step into a role originally held by Bill Murray, and the wrestling background necessary to pull this part off. In fact, it’s my adaptation of the film, so I’m including them both. Jay Mohr and Tom Cruise make their way into the film.
I mean, this is great right? You even take out the Loony Tunes, and make this into a regular movie where Jordan Burroughs and Tom Cruise have to wrestle Aliens to save the planet, rather than defend the Tunes, and this is a summer Blockbuster right? This exercise has been excellent. Who knows how to write a script? This is pure gold. I’m open to suggestions on the name. Current working title, is “Space Slam” courtesy the tweeted suggestion of Gabe Townsell.