“Learning the Ropes”: The Wrestling Sitcom

Like The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, consider this another show that I loved during my childhood, but looks absolutely atrocious when I watch clips of it today. In fact, this show was so short-lived that die-hard wrestling fans are probably the only people who even remember it. Learning the Ropes was a sitcom that only ran for one season and was the story of a single father named Robert Randall who worked as a mild-mannered school teacher by day and a masked professional wrestler called “The Masked Maniac” by night. Lyle Alzado, the former NFL star who eventually died from brain cancer brought on by excessive steroid use (and whose most famous acting role was as the bully foreman in Ernest Goes to Camp) played the lead role, and the show was produced in coalition with the National Wrestling Alliance, meaning that NWA stars like Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and The Road Warriors would make frequent cameos. This show was particularly interesting to me at the time because most Canadian TV channels only aired World Wrestling Federation programming, so this was my first chance to see all these big NWA stars that I’d only read about in wrestling magazines. As an adult, I can now see just how badly acted and written Learning the Ropes really was (though I have a soft spot for its typically cheesy 80s sitcom theme song). As a child, I could have cared less about that because this was my first chance to see the friggin’ Road Warriors!!

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