The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown review

Fred and Barney cross paths with John Cenastone and CM Punkrock in the new animated movie. Sounds ridiculous. Does it hit its promise?

Last year, WWE and Warner Bros. came together to give us Scooby-Doo: The WrestleMania Mystery, which was a special kind of crazy I’m glad existed. It wasn’t perfect, but it used both properties well enough and was pretty fun.

Around that time, it was announced that this partnership would lead to the WWE wrestlers crossing paths with the Flintstones, which made just as much sense. Like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones is a show that featured a ton of celebrity guests, only reimagined as animated cavemen and women. The very pun of one of the wrestlers being named “CM Punkrock” sold me on The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown.

Then again, in the past year, the real fun has come from the fact that CM Punkrock is even in it. CM Punk split from WWE over a year ago and the company wanted the people behind the movie to retool it so that CM Punk was no longer in it. Warner Bros. laughed in their face because it’s a freaking animated movie they’re working on and not a fast-food burger and continued as planned.

Coincidentally, WWE recently tried that with the comic company Papercutz by having them replace CM Punk in their previously-released comics with someone else. Papercutz decided instead to just cancel the whole series and wash their hands of it. At least WWE can pull this on their own website by giving the switcheroo to Punk’s wife AJ.

Ad – content continues below

Yeah, that’ll show ‘em!

What’s hilarious is that in Stone Age Smackdown, Punk has the most screen-time amongst all the wrestlers (which still isn’t all that much, to be honest), yet you’ll never know it from the advertisements. WWE’s made sure to keep all CM Punkrock moments off the commercials.

The plot is that Fred Flintstone (Jeff Bergman) has a vacation lined up with the family, but makes Mr. Slate so angry that he can’t get the advance on his paycheck needed to make it happen and he doesn’t have it in him to tell Wilma (Tress MacNeille). An incident at a charity event has Barney Rubble (Kevin Michael Richardson) get in a scrap with CM Punkrock (CM Punk) and Fred comes to realize that people will gladly pay money to see people beat each other up like that. And by “money” I mean “clams,” a tired pun that they drive straight into the ground.

And so, Fred Flintstone invents sports entertainment. Not wrestling, though! No, that taboo of a word is never mentioned once, nor shown on any signs. Fred Flintstone Entertainment has none of that wrestling stuff in it. He ends up recruiting the likes of gravel pit coworker John Cenastone (John Cena), masked businessman Rey Mysteriopal (Rey Mysterio), local undertaker The Undertaker (The Undertaker), “The World’s Strongest Caveman” Marble Henry (Mark Henry), and CM Punkrock. The Boulder Twins (Nikki and Brie Bella) are also there but don’t really do much other than remark how hot they are. Then there’s Mr. McMagma (Vince McMahon), who runs a food cart and is inspired by Flintstone’s moxie.

Meanwhile, Daniel Bryrock (Daniel Bryan) gets one entire scene and is never heard from again. He’s also featured on the cover. Go figure.

The movie’s main problem is the runtime. It’s only 51 minutes, including the credits. Yeah, that’s it. What we get in that time is a storyline that’s completely paper-thin and lazy. I know I’m not supposed to expect Mask of the Phantasm here, but even the Scooby-Doo movie knew how to pull off a crossover. When you have a crossover, that usually means having a surplus of characters, and when you have a surplus of characters, you have to find stuff for all of them to do. Interactions and subplots help an awful lot and they fill up the runtime so you don’t have to stretch 20 minutes of story into 50 minutes.

Ad – content continues below

Really, there’s just nothing much going on here. John Cenastone is there, but you will literally forget that he’s even in the movie because there’s nothing for him to actually do. CM Punkrock is the main villain, but the stakes don’t get much higher than, “He wants to beat up Barney.” Is the animation budget that sparse that you couldn’t figure out a way to make the movie any longer? Have Cenastone hang out with Bam Bam for a couple of scenes? Have Bryrock do literally anything else?

Also, the climax is lame because there isn’t all that much drama in it. With the Scooby-Doo movie, they had all the wrestlers, Scooby, and Shaggy team up to fight a guy in some kind of robot bear costume. Basically, a bunch of dudes vs. a tank. That makes sense. I buy that as a final battle. When you have two wrestler heels taking on three wrestlers and some other guys, there’s no danger. That’s why wrestling rarely ever has a handicap match where the bad guys are the underdog. What would be the point?

The humor mostly falls flat, but it has its moments, mainly thanks to Marble Henry and Undertaker. Mark Henry really shines as Punkrock’s dopey best friend and they play off each other really well with some funny gags. Nearly every single line the Undertaker says is him taking the piss out of his own gimmick. After taking himself so seriously for twenty years, he has no problem growling dialogue that sounds completely ridiculous coming from him.

The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown is half-baked and half-assed. If it’s on TV, it might be worth watching if you’re a wrestling fan, but don’t pay for it unless it’s marked down like crazy. Plus Barney’s voice is completely off. How do you screw up Barney’s voice?!

That’s right, Gavin Jasper is a Cosmo Spacely Guy! You know who else was a Cosmo Spacely Guy? George Jetson! Follow Gavin on Twitter.

Ad – content continues below


2 out of 5