14 Brutally Nostalgic Bouts From ‘Celebrity Deathmatch’

14 Brutally Nostalgic Bouts From ‘Celebrity Deathmatch’

Celebrity Deathmatch combined middle school humor with an MTV budget. It ran, on and off, from 1998 to 2007, and as you might imagine, so much of this show doesn’t hold up today. You can imagine how indelicately they handled celebrities like the Olsen twins, or the accusations against Bill Clinton. 

Hamfisted cultural commentary aside, they did create some pretty fun and thought-provoking “what if” scenarios involving contemporary pop stars, pop culture staples and historical figures…

Beavis vs. Butthead

Mike Judge was totally on board with the show using his IP. He was too busy with King of the Hill to provide the voices, but his original animators made the 2D portion of the fight.

Ulysses S. Grant vs. Robert E. Lee

This 2002 episode doesn’t seem to be available online, but it involved the two generals chopping each other into smaller and smaller bits, until the match had to be decided by a disembodied thumb war. Creator Eric Fogel explained, “We felt justified in having the North over the South, just in keeping with history,” which is, frankly, a relief.

The Beatles vs. Each Other

Ringo and George get eliminated, forcing John and Paul to decide if they really want to shed any further blood, or start a new band with Yoko Ono.

Eminem vs. Kid Rock

Two controversial weirdos at the top of their respective games finally square off. Things take a twist when Kid Rock’s hype man, Joe C, accidentally finds himself piloting Eminem’s body, and squares off against his own boss. 

The Oasis Brothers

The notoriously pugnacious Liam and Noel Gallagher start their fight back in the dressing room, drink and smoke through the introductions, then stumble around the ring for a few minutes before racist homophobic prop comedian Gallagher enters and decides the match with his big mallet.

Sly vs. Arnold

In this 1998 episode, the two big boys trade clunky meathead one-liners, like, “Let it be known that Stallone has shown his true colors tonight, and those colors are yellow. It’s over.”

Tim Allen vs. Jerry Seinfeld

These two once-beloved comedy icons trade vicious nurples and lame insults in what the commentators call “the stupidest match I’ve ever seen,” and “the fight about nothing.” Then things get interesting: Seinfeld’s castmates mutiny over Jerry turning down one more lucrative season of their show.

Marilyn Manson vs. Charles Manson

Marilyn Manson fights his be-diapered namesake and, as he does almost every time he appears on the show, emerges brutally victorious.

Christian Bale vs. Adam West

The one gimmick DC is too cowardly to try: Batman versus Batman. The two Batmen trade cheesy lines and melodramatic monologues, while the commentators dunk on the actors’ dramatic weight fluctuations.

Sean Penn vs. Tom Hanks

In this 1999 episode, Sean Penn beats the crap out of a paparazzo, drawing the ire of Tom Hanks, who opts to defend this innocent bystander — to the death.

Jake Gyllenhaal vs. Tobey Maguire

The two cut-up skinny boys fight over who owes their career to whom. Gyllenhaal enters his protective bubble from Bubble Boy, but farts himself out of it. He then mounts an attack with some familiar-looking robotic arms that, for copyright purposes, definitely do not belong to Doc Oc.

Mick Jagger vs. Steven Tyler

This orally fixated episode from 1998 pits two big-mouth rock stars against each other, featuring assassination via sexy-tongued impalement.

Busta Rhymes vs. Shakespeare

The two wordsmiths face off in what was billed as a break from the brutality: a very special poetry slam. It somehow devolves into violence, before the two accidentally swap timelines.

Holyfield vs. Tyson

The show pits Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson against each other a few different times, with Holyfield winning every time. In one quintessentially Deathmatch-ian episode, the two foes battle each other across several different locations, before Tyson finally wins by shoving Holyfield off a building — or does he?? Holyfield lands on a TNT detonator, blowing up the building and killing Tyson, keeping his win streak intact.

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