Celebrity Deathmatch (MTV, 1998-2002)
I never really thought that I would become that type of person, but when I had access to that channel, there was a short while when I used to watch MTV rather late at night, and by that point there would be all these music videos and strange shows coming and going and blending into each other, and I would think that this was rather “cool” as I imagine a viewer probably would’ve said at the time.
This show definitely filled this description, but let’s just forget about The Tom Green Show for now, shall we. Celebrity Deathmatch was a stop-motion animated series, that took various famous people, and placed them into the wrestling ring. They were singers, actors, anyone like that, and they could be known for having a feud, or just from the same area of entertainment.
This was an opportunity to imagine them settling their differences to determine who would come out on top. The matches could be one-on-one, two-on-two, maybe even three-on-three. The referee would get things going, and he would be rather lenient, as things became total chaos. Of course, as this was animated, the moves and injuries could be rather exaggerated.
So maybe someone could poke a rival’s eyes out in the literal sense, they could retaliate by casually ripping out their ribcage, and there would be (pretend) blood everywhere, it really was a fight to the death. And the crowd go mildly excited! Another element to the show were the hosts Johnny Gomez and Nick Diamond, who would breathlessly commentate on the action.
There would usually be two matches per show, and there would also be plenty of analysis, occasionally this would be provided by WWE wrester “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and there would also be a look behind the scenes to interview what was left of the defeated rivals. Celebrity Deathmatch ran for four series, and episodes seemed to randomly turn up on MTV, but were always worth catching.
This increased in popularity, I remember that there was an advert done in the style of this show, and I think that there was also a repeat run in a late-night slot on Channel 4. And rather inevitably, about five years later, there was a revival, but this wasn’t as successful. As far as MTV’s animated series go, for craziness and creativity, this is regarded to be up there with Beavis And Butt-Head and Daria.