We might have reached peak absurdity today.
Hello, everyone, I’m Eamon Smith and this is Fun Friday. Last week, we attempted to pick apart the statistical profile of the most well-loved players in Nashville Predators history—so naturally thinking of guys like Mike Fisher, Jordin Tootoo, and Shea Weber made me want to go watch some hockey fights. After tumbling down the rabbit hole a bit too far, I ended up watching Royal Rumble highlights from this year on YouTube. Did you know a dude got hit with a golf cart this year? Wild stuff.
Naturally, I thought about all of this while walking to get Panda Express the other day (it’s the best dining option on campus, don’t judge me) and the logical conclusion I came to was simple: I should make all of these hockey players have a fictional wrestling match. Does this sound like a great idea to anyone else? Questionable, but who cares. Let’s begin.
The following is the transcript of the highlights from the WWE’s lost, experimental “All-Predators Royal Rumble.” Reader discretion is advised.
Pete Weber: Live from downtown Nashville, it’s the first-ever All-Predators Royal Rumble. I’m Pete Weber alongside Terry Crisp and Scott Hartnell, and I’m excited to be calling what some are predicting to be the event of the century. Terry, your thoughts?
Terry Crisp: Well, Pete, we’re going to get quite the smackdown here today. We’ve got a lot of entrants, some more notable than others, but there will only be one winner. No matter what, it’s gonna be one heck of a show. What about you, Scott?
Scott Hartnell: I’m extremely excited to see some old and new faces here, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a donnybrook of this size. Should be a good one out here today, I’m excited to get to be a part of the team calling this.
Weber: Walking in now is entrant number one.
[A cover of “Taking Care of Business” by D.O.A. blares over the speakers. The crowd roars.]
Crisp: Here comes the big fella now.
Paul McCann: STANDING 6’3” AND WEIGHING IN AT 230 LBS, THE BEAST FROM THE EASTERN CONFERENCE, THE MANNON WITH A CANNON, SHEAAAAAAA WEBER.
Crisp: I always have to gape in awe at the build of this guy. He looks like he was carved out of a block of granite by Zeus himself.
Weber: You can say that again.
Crisp: I would, but I think that’d be a bit repetitive, don’t you?
Hartnell: Here comes entrant number two. That music … man, the crowd’s gonna love this guy.
[The arena buzzes in anticipation as “Hairline” by Belvedere explodes into the air.]
McCann: STANDING 6’3” AND WEIGHING IN AT 199 LBS, THE DEADLIEST FIGHTER IN PREDATORS HISTORY, PATRICK “PUNCHOUT” CÔÔÔÔÔÔÔÔTÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ.
[The crowd has a mix of claps and shrugs as the often-forgotten Côté walks out, spitting a huge stream of water as he walks towards the ring, staring down Weber the entire way.]
Côté: Shea Weber, they call you the unstoppable force, but today, my friend, you’re gonna meet [pointing to his fist] THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT.
Peter Weber: My God, Côté has no fear!
Crisp: Look at Shea, he’s the strong silent type. He won’t respond to something like that. Just lets his game do the talking.
[Côté enters the ring. The bell sounds and the match begins.]
Weber: Two heavyweights in the history of this team going at it to start, AND WEBER WITH A HEAVY BLOW TO CÔTÉ, WHAT A START HERE.
[Some time passes with the two trading blows and moves. The clock ticks towards zero.]
Weber: Patrick Côté has barely managed to stay alive in the early going here, but—OH MY GOODNESS.
[“For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica sounds out as the crowd erupts.]
Crisp: I didn’t think we’d see an old-timer this early on, but this guy is not somebody to mess with. You don’t lock horns with The Grim Reaper without coming away worse off.
[Stu Grimson bounds towards the ring with a crazed look in his eye and instantly tackles Shea Weber.]
Côté: You don’t belong here, old man!
[Côté reverses Grimson and flips him out of the ring. The crowd is incensed. Some time passes with Côté and Weber duking it out before the clock strikes zero a few more times. Scott Walker and Tom Fitzgerald enter, but the pair are quickly dispatched.]
Weber: It’s been mano-y-mano to start this match, with Shea Weber and the wily Patrick Côté dealing some damage early. Who could our next contestant be?
[The clock runs out. “Blackhawk Down” by Rancid plays as the crowd hits ear-splitting levels.]
Crisp: I thought he said he was taking a bathroom break!
Weber: I had a feeling he couldn’t keep out of the fun for long.
[Scott Hartnell slowly walks up wearing an orange and black cape with the Predators logo on it. He struts around, putting a hand to his ear and egging the crowd on. Weber and Côté look on with shock.]
Hartnell: IT FEELS GOOD TO BE BACK IN SMASHVILLE, WOOOO, AND I TELL YA WHAT, THE GINJA NINJA, THE KING OF THE RING, WOOOO, THE MAN HIMSELF, SCOTTY HARTNELL HAS MISSED HIS FANS.
Weber: Things just got a whole lot more interesting, Crispie.
Crisp: Scott Hartnell, former champion of the Philadelphia circuit and longtime business icon, has just joined the Rumble match for the very first time. What a historic moment.
[Time passes and more contestants are eliminated. Hartnell, Weber, Côté, Mathieu Olivier and Yakov Trenin remain. As the clock strikes zero, an record scratch comes over the loudspeaker.]
Weber: No way. It can’t be. That’s impossible.
Crisp: HE WAS TOLD HE COULD NEVER COME BACK HERE.
[The crowd is uncertain how to react as a masked figure slowly walks into the light. The wrestlers all look on with confusion.]
Weber: Is that—
[“Screaming For Vengeance” by Judas Priest comes on. The hooded figure reveals his face.]
Crisp: BAH GAWD, IT IS HIM.
Weber: LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE CAPITAL OFFENDER IS IN THE BUILDING. RYAN SUTER, HOW D’YA DO?
[The crowd is furious and gives Suter tons of heat as he rolls confidently up to the ring. Shea Weber stares him down, and as Suter enters the other participants back away to let the big man have his way with the traitor in front of him.]
Crisp: Oh boy, he’s in for it—WHAT IS HAPPENING.
[Weber takes Suter’s hand and shakes it. The two turn around and start wrecking shop, tossing Côté, Olivier and anyone else in their way. Yakov Trenin is furious at losing his Mississippian ally and attempts to fight the pair, but narrowly escapes getting chucked overboard. Some time passes and more entrants appear, including Wade Belak and Jerred Smithson, but they cannot overcome the teamwork of the hefty duo. The alarm goes off with just eighteen contestants remaining.]
Weber: Are we in for another surprise here, or are me ears deceiving me?
Crisp: This guy won’t last a second in the ring with the rest of those beasts. You kidding me?
[Alexander Radulov saunters into the arena, greeted by heat from the crowd that only he could draw.]
Weber: Maybe the greatest villain in Nashville sports history, Alex Radulov is back one more time to do some damage.
Crisp: Unless the match suddenly moves to a nightclub in Arizona, I doubt he’ll be much of an issue.
[Radulov enters the ring and begins wildly trying to avoid a berserk Weber, who clearly wants to rip his head off. The Captain succeeds in taking out his target, but knocks over the official in the process before he’s officially eliminated; Radulov hops back into the ring and promptly punts an unsuspecting Austin Watson over the side.]
Weber: What a despicable act by Alexander Radulov. He hasn’t changed a bit.
[Weber and Suter charge Radulov and tag-team him, breaking the big Russian in half with a Death Drop before flinging him over the ropes. The arena is deafening. Some more time passes, and suddenly the match is down to just ten entrants remaining. Scott Hartnell and Yakov Trenin along with Hal Gill are clinging to life, barely surviving the dominant force of Weber and Suter. The clock strikes zero. The ground shakes. “This Is The End” by Anti-Flag is on blast, but it can barely be heard over the crowd.]
Weber: It was only a matter of time before he showed up.
Crisp: No fight in Predators history would be complete without the one of the greatest to ever drop the gloves, eh Pete.
[Jordin Tootoohas the aura of a king as he enters the ring. The fighting stops for a moment as the men around him realize what they’re about to go up against. Tootoo gets to work, unleashing a whirlwind of punches and wrecking shop. He is a force of nature. With just two entrants left, Darcy Hordichuk, Yakov Trenin, Tootoo, Weber, Suter, and the ever-talkative Hartnell remain. As the clock strikes zero, “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson echoes out across the arena as P.K. Subban takes the stage.]
[The match goes on for a bit, with Subban managing to pull off “The Subbanator” on the exhausted Hordichuk, eliminating him and stunning Yakov Trenin. Weber and Suter walk towards the defenseless Russian as Subban and Hartnell look on.]
[In a swiftly coordinated move, Suter knocks down the official, grabs a chair that Radulov tosses him from the audience, obliterates Weber and then tosses the chair back out of the ring before the ref can notice.]
Crisp: RYAN SUTER JUST PULLED OFF THE PERFECT CRIME.
Weber: Here comes the finisher.
[The crowd has the air sucked out of it as Suter walks over to the motionless Weber and uses his finisher, “No Place Like Home,” to end the big man’s hopes of winning. The heat around the ring is palpable. Only five wrestlers remain. Yakov Trenin charges Suter and spears him low, opening him up to a high clothesline from Subban. The trio duke it out with a few shots from the barely-standing Hartnell making their way in.]
Weber: It looks like the end here for Scotty Hartnell, he’s put up a good fight but I think he’s out of gas.
Crisp: I don’t know, he’s a crafty guy, let’s not count him out yet.
[Hartnell suddenly backs off as Tootoo enters the scrum. #22 manages to throw out Subban before Trenin and Suter do a combined power bomb and flip him out of the ring, much to the chagrin of fans. Three contestants remain, but the pair look at Hartnell and decide to eliminate him.]
Weber: Oh man, this is gonna be brutal, we can’t have Ryan Suter make it all the way to the end like this. Scott, do something!
[As Suter and Trenin charge Hartnell, he perfectly times a double-clothesline takedown. He successfully flips Trenin out of the ring, but Suter gets back up.]
Crisp: Scott may have some fight left in him!
[Hartnell sprints towards the dazed Suter and knocks him down again. Hartnell works the crowd into a fervor and continues to raise his arms for more noise. He stands on the ropes and with the whole world watching … he trips, stumbles forward and drops an elbow on Suter, executing the legendary “Hartnell Down.” The match is over. Scott Hartnell is the winner.]
Weber: What an incredible moment in the history of the sport that we witnessed here today.
Crisp: Hartsy, what do you have to say to the fans out there?
Hartnell: You’re talking to the hooked on a feelin, goal stealin, (WOO!) slip-n-slidin, stick riding, ice glidin, son of a gun, and I’m having a hard time holding these big cats down, WOO!
I hope you enjoyed today’s nonsense. Many thanks to Scott Matla of Habs Eyes on the Prize and SkyonAir of Stanley Cup of Chowder for helping me come up with a semi-faithful Rumble storyline and to the man formerly known as @NSHHousecats (now going by @Forking_Sporks) for the truly breathtaking photos. Have a fun Friday everybody. Go Preds.