Review: Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery
Vince McMahon is a certified marketing genius. Always keen to find a new way to reach a new audience, he tied pro wrestling to rock and roll, and in doing so, made it a part of popular culture to a level it hadn’t been since the early days of television. His knack for cross-promotion has struck gold again, with a crossover between the WWE Superstars and the animated adventures of the Great Dane Detective and the Mystery Inc gang in their newest direct to video movie, Scooby Doo WrestleMania Mystery, out just in time to help promote WrestleMania XXX, coming to your screens this Sunday, April 6.
The voices and likenesses of the current crop of WWE Superstars like John Cena, Triple H, Divas Champion AJ Lee and Santino Marella team up with Scooby and the gang in a fun throwback to the old days of The New Scooby Doo Movies, which featured guest star crossovers galore. The voice cast of Mystery Inc are the team that have been handling the job for the TV shows as well as the Direct to Video features for some time now. Frank Welker still provides the voice of Stalwart Freddy Jones, and has also capably taken over the voice of the eponymous hound. Mindy Cohn, late of The Facts of Life is Velma Dinkley, and voice talent extraordinaire Grey Delisle Griffin is Daphne Blake. Norville “Shaggy” Rogers is now voiced by Matthew Lillard, who proved to us in the live-action films that it is actually possible to genetically breed actors to play specific parts.
The story is set in “WWE City” a combination resort complex, production center and training camp for the superstars. Scooby and the gang win a trip to the resort after getting a perfect score in the new WWE video game, just in time for Wrestlemania, the unveiling of the priceless new WWE championship belt, and the recent attacks by a mysterious monster, the Ghost Bear. Seems almost like they could be, y’know, connected, huh? The Bear is allegedly the spectral remains of a wrestling bear in a touring show, undefeated until he fell at the hands of the great-grandfather of luchador and current WWE Superstar Sin Cara. With the help of long time wrestling trainer Cookie (Chares S. Dutton) and his nephew Ruben, the gang investigates the origins of the bear attacks, which takes on an extra level of required hurry-up when Scooby is accused of stealing the championship belt. They must find the culprit (and the bear) before, according to WWE City law, Scooby and Shaggy will be forced to prove their innocence on the field of battle, facing Kane in the opening match at WrestleMania.
The film is loads of fun, with a suitably wacky storyline, mixed with well done action and chase scenes. There’s enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing until the mask is whipped off the baddie. The superstars’ charisma carry over to the animated form, and it’s clear everyone had a good time making the movie. Also included on the disc is a behind the scenes documentary featuring the wrestlers’ voice recording sessions and an episode of underappreciated classic of the Doo continuity A Pup Named Scooby Doo, a show The Wife and I loved so much, we named our child after one of its characters, namely Shaggy’s baby sister. (Thank goodness we had a girl, or we’d have had to name her “Red” Hoerring.)
Scooby Doo WrestleMania Mystery is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray.