No Soup fan worth their salt is ever going to complain about getting a bonus half-hour of Joel McHale’s snarky commentary about the best and worst moments of television, and it’s not like the world of professional wrestling doesn’t offer up plenty of spectacle, but The Soup Salutes WWE: Piledriving Clips In Your Face is a strange amalgam that’s freshly recorded and features top-tier wrestling guest stars while mostly recycling a bunch of clips that’ve made the rounds countless times before.
There’s supposedly a “massive audience crossover” between E! and the WWE—that’s what the E! website says, anyway—but McHale’s opening remarks for the episode would seem to indicate otherwise. I mean, when you kick things off by pointedly offering a description of the show’s format “for those of you who haven’t seen The Soup,” you’re clearly expecting an influx of newbies to the viewership. Wrestling fans are a diehard bunch, and the opportunity to witness Eve, Hornswoggle, and The Miz in a tussle with Joan and Melissa Rivers is clearly worth venturing over to Keeping Up with the Kardashians territory to see.
The Soup Salutes WWE features several of “the biggest, most aggressively graceful men and women ever to wear body oil and spandex for a measurable profit and international fame,” as our beloved host describes them. During the course of the episode, McHale receives numerous opportunities to take out his Community-related frustrations on poor Mankini, who finds himself on the receiving end of more than a few wrestling moves, giving the actual wrestlers a chance to step up to the camera. Beyond the trio mentioned in the previous paragraph, Ray Mysterio drops by to wisecrack about Honey Boo Boo, Eve Torres reveals her hidden love for Small Town Security, and Brodus Clay offers a pitch-perfect delivery of the words, “Chicks, man.” There’s also occasional color commentary from Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler, although the latter spends as much time putting in requests to see his favorite clips, including the excruciatingly bad shoot-out scene from General Hospital. Cole’s finest moment, meanwhile, is his utter inability to keep a straight face as Lawler gushes about how much he loves The Bad Girls Club.
What’s weird about this special, though, is the decision to intersperse random WWE clips with some vague version of The Soup’s Greatest Hits, bouncing from Jersey Shore to Wrestlemania IV with no particular rhyme or reason. Maybe it was just too hard to resist the weirdness of seeing these wrestlers out of their element, but all things considered, the proceedings could’ve done with more moments along the lines of, say, when they returned from a face-to-balls wrestling clip to reveal a shell-shocked Daniel Bryan saying, “I guess this is why Robert DeNiro never goes to see any of his movies.” Fortunately, the special wraps up with a particularly great moment that surely qualifies as both a Soup highlight and a WWE lowlight: Buzz Aldrin stepping into the ring and delivering a filibuster on the space program. If there was an award given to Best Delivery, it would’ve gone to Brodus Clay, who, at the completion of the clip, muses, “I remember that being longer…”
- The Miz questions the reality of E!: "So are you saying that Ice doesn't love Coco?"
- The clip of Zach Ryder, Eve, and John Cena almost made me wish I hadn’t stopped watching wrestling regularly back when Ricky Steamboat was still a contender. Not quite, but almost.