You wouldn’t be blamed for forgetting that today is the 30th anniversary of the Toxic Turtles, a very (and we mean very) fleeting event. WWE Tag Team. 30 years ago, it was still the WWF, and in a taped episode of Wrestling Challenge, the Toxic Turtles would make their one and only WWE appearance against Tommy Stevenson and Ron Preston. As you can see in the clip below (via Squared Circle on Reddit), poisonous turtles resembled Raphael and Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it’s hilarious to think it actually happened in a WWE ring, but it absolutely did, and they even won! You can find the video below.
It’s not just the costumes that echo the Turtles, as they even mimic things like being punched on their shells and not being able to get up. They also had a finisher which was appropriately called Shell Shock, but unfortunately that particular match was the only one they were able to use it.
The people in costume were later revealed to be Duane ‘Gillberg’ Gill and Barry Hardy, who would also appear in other guises like The Executioners. In a WWE interviewGill revealed what led up to the match and how they got on TV, and it was a chance sighting of Vince McMahon from behind the scenes.
“I used to do whatever I could to wrestle. I mean whatever. I didn’t care. I had the outfits done, because I was trying to find different ways to work any further. [Barry Hardy and I competed as] The Executioners, and we also did Barry Hardy & Dwayne Gill, so we could work a whole bunch. Then I said, ‘Let’s both do these outfits and maybe we’ll find some work like this,” Gill said.
“We [took] them [to] three televisions [tapings], but we never did anything with them. Eventually I put it on, got out and started dancing in the locker room – spinning on turtle shell and stuff like that,” Gill said. “When I stopped, I looked up and Vince [McMahon] stands there. He asked, “Who the hell is in this thing?” I took the mask off and he said, “I should have known.” He then said, “Do you have another one?” I said, “Oh, yes sir!” and he said, “Put them on. [In] 10 minutes, you’re struggling.”
Gill said they had no other name than The Battling Turtles, and he remembers some of the things they did during the game. “We had moves and everything. The finishing move was called Shell Shock, where I did a flip and landed on the shell on top of him. If you saw the match, Barry got slammed and he’s laying in the ring kicking and kicking his hands like he couldn’t get up because he was on his shell the guy is yelling at the crowd and i ran and got him knocked down,” Gill said.
Gill said McMahon was laughing the whole time, but thinks a comeback was canceled due to copyright. “Oh yeah! The game went great! Vince was laughing out loud. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, this is a killer, man. This is awesome!’ give us a job, but we never heard [back]so we thought copyright destroyed it,” Gill said.
There you go, and happy 30th birthday to the Toxic Turtles!
What did you think of the match and the Toxic Turtles? Let us know in the comments or, as always, you can talk wrestling (and TMNT) with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!