This WrestleMania weekend, we must all hail Botchamania!
WrestleMania, the premier professional wrestling/sports entertainment event, is this Sunday. It’s the annual “Showcase of the Immortals,” WWE’s answer to the Super Bowl, and over the years it’s become a festival of sorts. The week leading up to it is filled with expos and fan events, including a Hall of Fame ceremony where performers past — those in Vince McMahon’s good graces — are inducted into that company’s answer to Canton and Cooperstown. It’s the pinnacle of the industry, where, at least in theory, the absolute cream of the crop, the upper echelon of excellence, is on display and celebrated.
And then there’s Botchamania, which is pretty much the exact opposite. And it’s glorious.
For those of you unfamiliar, here’s the deal: Botchamania is a web series devoted to pro wrestling oopsies, i.e. botches — the missed moves, flubbed lines, poorly thought-out storylines and comical goofiness in general you get when you have hulking human beings engaged in a live athletic-ish performance. But this simple description doesn’t do Botchamania justice. Each 10 to 15 minute clip is brilliantly and hilariously edited, oftentimes set to a Nintendo video game soundtrack, with sparse but clever textual commentary that only heightens the screwupitude on display. (There’s something truly sublime in seeing a wrestler fly off the top rope and miss his opponent by five feet, all set to music from Dr. Mario.) Like all internet viral hits, Botchamania’s strength lies in its simplicity, and the series has thus generated more memes than a man can count. Cornette Face. The indestructible Table of Japan. “Everybody talks too much” — and its corollary, “Cena talks too much.” The Iron Sheik belting out a staccato “FACK!”
The series was created by Maffew, a Brit who’s cobbled together all 270-and-counting(!) episodes. The sheer amount of work that he’s put into this is staggering, evidence of either mad genius or clinical compulsion. Probably both. The volume of video he’s gone through to cull material, everything from WWE pay-per-views to videotaped shoot interviews to Japanese matches to the smallest of indie promotions held in local Elks lodges, well, it’s mind-boggling. All of it is tied together with a unique voice, one that can mash-up clips from classic movies with infamous rasslin’ fails.
For me, the apotheosis of the whole series may have come in Botchamania 167, when a particularly poorly-planned WrestleMania main event caused the Cornette Face to explode and morph into a series of wrestling and comic book characters drawn in MS Paint, all set to Eric Prydz’s dance remix of Steve Winwood’s “Valerie.” See what I mean about mad genius?:
Name all the characters! If you dare!
Like most things, words don’t convey the essence of the subject. But if you’re not a wrestling fan, fear not — you can still enjoy Botchamania. Because who doesn’t like those YouTube clips where a skateboarder slides off a railing and totally eats it? Maffew deserves the support of your viewing, as no one is getting rich of these, and the corporate WWE overlords are often forcing him to remove his clips from video sharing sites as soon as he posts them — though his editing wizardry has always seemed to me transformative and thus the very definition of Fair Use. Botchamania has been around for years now, and has generated a great fanbase (which has long contributed segments and endings to the clips), so this isn’t some diamond in the rough I’m bringing to your attention. But it’s a diamond nonetheless.
Botchamania can be followed at Botchamania.com, and episodes can be found on YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc., where they disappear and pop back up like arcade whac-a-moles.
I’ve been in the danger zone. He’s got a bicycle! Minus five stars! Fat asses! Mongo! Huh? Yapapi! We comin’ for you, n*gga! Su-per Dra-gon! Jeff Harvey. How much does dis guy weigh? Hahaha! Play. You wanna play 21? Fackin!