Sometimes two or more things naturally come together to make something awesome. Peanut Butter and Chocolate gave us the Reese’s cup, the combination of 5 lions form the awesome Voltron, Ryan Renolds as Deadpool, need I say more?
But sometimes some things don’t mix well and takes some time to get used to it. The Pairing of WWE and Hanna-Barbera is a strange one starting to say the least when the Rock decided to call John Cena a walking box of Fruity Pebbles in their hype for Wrestlemania 28. Ever since then, the WWE has embraced being associated with the Hanna-Barbera characters starting with 2014’s Scooby Doo And the WWE: The WrestleMania Mystery and it was… interesting to say the least, on one hand, it was fun to see the wrestlers do their thing, but another is felt too “cringy” and “awkward” at times; The Fellahs over at OSW review do it justice better than I can ever do. Things came full circle a year later in the form of WWE and the Flintstones: Stone Age Smackdown, this one was more low-key with it’s insanity and in some weird ways too it becomes a meta commentary on the wrestling buisness as a whole, which makes the whole thing more digestible than the Scooby-Doo one. So here we are with part three of this WWE/Hanna-Barbera saga and is it an awkward mess like the first movie is? or is it shockingly good like the last one? only one way to find out…
The movie is a direct sequel to the Wrestlemania Mystery, now the WWE Superstars are in a Wacky Races-like road race across an island for a grand prize. Shaggy and Scooby are concession stand owners and the rest of Mystery Inc. go and cheer on the racers and support their friend. But an attack by the mysterious monster known as the Speed Demon who threatens to “eliminate’ anyone in his way and his first victims are the WWE Legends Dusty Rhodes and Undertaker. Naturally, Undertaker is mad and seeks out the help of “Skinny Man” (Shaggy) and “Dead Meat” (Scooby) for assistance and they team up to race for both Dusty who wants to get his kids (Cody and Dustin, AKA Stardust and GoldDust) a ranch and for Undertaker to open a puppet show.
I kid you not thats the plot.
The other racers include The Miz, Paige, Lana, Rusev, Sheamus, Golddust, Stardust, El Torito, Muguel (Epico), Diego (Primo), Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. Vince is not happy that Steph is racing and want her to drop, but she and Triple H want to go and prove they are just that “Darn” good. The Miz and Page’s angle is they hate eachother, Rusev and Lana are having family friendly domestic disputes by spewing insults at eachother, SHeamus is paired with Golddust and Stardust… and they act as you would expect Stardust and Golddust to act thus making Sheamus slowly go insane from their shenanigans. El Torito, Miguel, and Diego where too late to cash in their current gimmick to the animators and where just there. Also just there is Kofi Kingston, who is their color commentator for this with MIchael Cole on the ground.
Already off the bat, if you know wrestling, there is something wrong and thats animation turn around time. Cody Rhodes is gone from the company, Epico and Primo are the Shining Stars now, and unfortunately, Dusty Rhodes has passed away since the making of this movie,so it’s weird to see old gimmicks come back and haunt me, worst yet, they could of slotted in better guys like say The New Day in some of these slots and it would of resulted in a better use of character. Another more pressing issue is how much the Scooby-Gang are just window dressing to the rest of the characters in the movie; Fred is just there and doesn’t provide much in the long run, Velma and Dalphine have a lover’s spat over Daphine having a fascination with Stephanie, and while yes, the main focus should be on Scooby and Shaggy, the faces of the franchise, it’s kind of sad to see them not much to do, especially when you watch something like Mystery Incorporated and they can do so much more.
But in leu of this, we see the rest of the wresrlers around get fleshed out and go beyond being just “wrestlers” in this movie. And thats the best part of this animation: where the cringyness and the awkwardness of the Wrestlemania Mystery was that they force-fed you the fact they are wrestlers and do amazing things as wresrler, here, they focus more on the individuals and give you more of an excuse to be invested in them other than they are big, musclebound gods and it becomes clear when you see guys like the Undertaker be more than just the Undertaker; while he is the deadman and does his Deadman thing, he’s fleshed out more, has more things to say and has a pretty good sense of comedic timing that we don’t ever get to see in the actual product. Same goes with Sheamus, as much as I think he’s an exhausting character to watch on TV, he’s pretty good when handed something scripted and able to let loose with the content given to him, something the WWE don’t really capitalize alot of times. That in lies the best positives about this movie: it goes beyond what we see in the ring and goes beyond the expectations of whats presented to usn on TV week in and week out. Yes, we know John Cena is a god amongst men who can stop boulders because he’s John Cena, but we have the Miz who’s beyond full of himself, but gets a bit of a come-upance in the middle of the movie. I know im making alot out of nothing, but it was fun regardless seeing Rusev and Lana squabble over small things, but in the end, still love eachother dearly, and Golddust and Stardust being their weird selves, something we don’t get much to see on the current product and somethig that fits well for an animation project like this.
If your going to see high quality Shakespearean acting and amazing plot and writing… you won’t find it here. It’s your a-typical Scooby-Doo story with plots and twist, redhearings and cheesy resolutions that it can only come from a product of Hanna-Barbera studios. I only recomend this if you enjoyed unironically the first two outings, a fan of Scooby-Doo, or a fan of the WWE. The rest can skip this, but for a fan of the WWE like myself, it’s a nugget of joy that I enjoy for the smaller things.