Monday, December 29, 2014

Santa vs. Santa

I Am Santa Claus vs. Santa With Muscles
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I am a big fan of Christmas.  It goes without saying, I'm a big fan of wrestling.  From time to time, these two worlds collide.  More often than not the results are less than stellar.  Xanta Claus, The Christmas Creature, and yes, Santa With Muscles all come to mind.

Hulk Hogan in Santa with Muscles
For those who've never seen it, Santa With Muscles is a 1996 film starring then WCW champion Hulk Hogan.  This movie has been out for 18 years and finally during the 2014 Christmas season I sat down to watch it.  Despite Chad's glowing review of the film a couple years ago, I had to see the flick for myself.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Brother
Let me start off by saying I don't mean any disrespect to the men and women who worked on this film, but Santa With Muscles is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Hogan plays a millionaire who gets amnesia and believes he's Santa Claus.  What's worse is the kids in the orphanage he's trying to help believe he's St. Nick too.  The film really has no high points and again, although I did get a laugh out of Ed "Brutus Beefcake" Leslie's brief appearance. I'd rather get a stocking full of coal for my remaining Christmases than watch this film again.

Santa Claus & Santa Mick
I Am Santa Claus
 On the opposite end of the wrestling-Christmas spectrum is the documentary I Am Santa Claus.  I recently watched it on Netflix. Despite the title, this is not a film for kids.  There is some language that some might find offensive (I don't get offended).  The documentary follows four Santas from around the country and aspiring Santa Claus, Mick Foley.  It's fun watching the different personalities of each man portraying the jolly ol' elf.  

Santa Jim and his partner
I Am Santa Claus 
We've seen Foley's transformation and love for Santa (and Christmas) evolve over the years on Raw, social media and through his books.  I'll be honest, it was the Foley connection that hooked me in the first place, but once the film started I found each of the men's stories compelling.  From the man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus to the openly gay Santa Jim, we learn it takes more than a white beard and a red suit to become Santa.

Santa Mick & John Cena
Photo courtesy: WWE
There's a scene near the end of the film with the Foley family that no doubt even makes the Grinch's heart grow three sizes.  Mick's wrestling days may be behind him, but he has paved the way for bringing joy to people during the Christmas season.  He's got the look, mannerisms, and belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly down to an art.  The "Hardcore Legend" has reinvented himself as the world's most iconic character and has done it in a way that doesn't tarnish the image of either man.


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