Pro Wrestling on the Phil Donahue Show

Double your retro, double your fun, with two, two, TWO retros in one!

I found this clip on youtube. It’s an episode from the Phil Donahue show from back in 1981. What makes this clip special is the bizarre pairing of Donahue and professional wrestling. Donahue attempts to delve into the phenomenon of wrestling. Both he and his audience interview some wrestlers, ask if it’s real, what the appeal is, how much money they make, what’s up with female wrestling, etc.

What really makes this stand out however is the fact that there’s a wrestling ring in the studio, and they have wrestling matches going on throughout most of the show. What I find terribly amusing though is the fact that most of the audience is made up of old women. A bunch of little old ladies, watching wrestling…. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what they had planned when they got their tickets to the show.

A couple other unique things about this clip is that it has Jesse Ventura actually wrestling, and that it has an early appearance of Hulk Hogan. This version of him stands out from his WWF heyday though, because he acts like a major jerk. I’m certain he’s supposed to be a “heel” at this point, but he’s only on camera for a short time, so it isn’t made clear. This version of his character is much more inline with his “Hollywood” Hogan persona.

My favorite part of this whole clip though is when the two female wrestlers (each of which weighs more than Donahue) both tackle Donahue at the same time.

Click to watch the Video on YouTube (embedding disabled)

Drahken

Team Retroist Chief Nostalgia Psychic...

Latest posts by Drahken (see all)

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

2 thoughts on “Pro Wrestling on the Phil Donahue Show

  1. The wrestling audience had NO idea Hogan had been a heel. If McMahon was smarter he would have shown footage of when Hogan was in the WWE in 1981 being a heel with the tagline…Yeah, we have seen that before. Not original….I think it would have put a serious dent into the NWO´s steam.

  2. Hogan spent a pretty long stint as a heel, prior to becoming WWF’s golden boy. Search youtube for his earlier persona “Terry Boulder”.

    Interestingly, wrestling would again be featured on the Donahue dhow, just over a decade later. What a difference a decade makes. In this later episode, wrestling has gone from some fun entertainment to some evil dynasty. Donahue has also changed, becoming much more obnoxious, never letting his guests finish a sentence.
    This episode deals with the 90s controversies about drug abuse and sexual abuse, behind the scenes of pro wrestling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjzgq_ZBy8o

Leave a Reply