Episode: 307 "The Rumble for Ragnarok!” 5/9/20
Starring: Scrooge McDuck, Dewey Duck, Huey Duck, Launchpad McQuack, Louie Duck, and Webby Vanderquack
Costarring: Mrs. Beakley
Introducing: Strongbeard, Hecka, and Fernomir
While Scrooge and co. wrestle with the fate of the universe, the family is faced with their own, more personal Ragnarok: the notion of legacy once Scrooge sheds this mortal coil and takes up permanent residence in Valhalla. As reigning “Champion of the Earth,” Scrooge must choose his successor and begin training them for their annual battle against the transmogrified snake monster, Jormungandr, and his barbarian minions.
Because of the Millionaire Miser’s untimely back injury, Scrooge’s hand is forced early in regards to the torch passing. With Louie’s attention focused on merchandising and Huey opting to reprise his role of announcing with Launchpad (harkening back to their pairing in The Lost Links of Moorshire! (S1, E,12)), Scrooge must look elsewhere. Of course, Webby is Scrooge’s first choice but that’s too easy and leaves much to be desired in terms of narrative tension. So, thanks to circumstance, the spotlight shifts to Dewey, the nephew whom Scrooge has the least amount of confidence in and, of course, is also the one who is most desperate to make it happen.
Dewey is all too ready to soak up the fame and adulation that comes along with saving the world. But he’s woefully ill-equipped in understanding the psychological and selfless nuances of professional wrestling. The idea of playing your part doesn’t jibe with his “impossible to hate, hero persona” of Champ Popular. The raucous crowd immediately turns on his cheesy moniker, shaking his confidence but, instead of rolling with it and following Scrooge’s advice of “embracing the boos,” he stubbornly declares “No. I can win them over. I can make them like me!”… and fails miserably. Despite the fact that professional wrestling is rife with gimmickry and role playing, the fans feed off of authenticity and can sniff out a phony in a second.
Meanwhile, it’s Launchpad who finds himself completely at home in this wackadoodle, mythological realm of wrasslin.’ So much so, in fact, that you may have noticed that he even LANDED the Sunchaser without incident! This lies in stark contrast to his announcing partner, Huey, who is trying to force the issue in much the same way Dewey is. LP recognizes his struggles and even tries to help as he gestures towards the action in the ring and says “you don’t have to make it sound great, it already is.” Huey is an overachieving, control freak who likes to think he has all the answers and not being able to wrap his head around wrestling is driving him nuts.
After retreating backstage with his pin feathers tucked between his legs, Dewey is joined by Scrooge who impresses upon him that “doing the right thing is not always easy or popular.” Being both the Richest Duck in the World and/or the Champion of the World isn’t without it’s hardships, nor is everyone always going to love you for it all the time. That much responsibility requires striking the perfect balance between selflessness and bravado. Huey soon joins his brother to commiserate over their respective failures as well as their shared feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in taking over for Scrooge. But Louie will have none of it. First, he encourages Huey to stop overthinking things or, more simply put, “be LP.” Then he reminds Dewey of his penchant for heroism and convinces him to just “Dewey this.” That proves to be the kick in the pants they both need.
Once Dewey returns to the squared-circle, he deftly gets under the snake’s skin by calling out his own need to be loved and then finally gets the pop he’s been waiting for by displaying a brand of grit that’s commensurate with both the Norse and McDuck spirit. The barbarians are so taken that fellow wrestler, Strongbeard, tosses him a tuft of his magical beard for that extra bit of “umph” that gets Champ Popular the pin, sending Jormungandr back to his rightful station, encircling the earth, and sucking on his own tail. Even Huey manages to rattle off a few well-worded and wrestling appropriate puns. Then, Dewey’s turn as baby face hero is complete when the Millionaire Miser double crosses him and steals his belt (showing Scrooge isn’t going anywhere anytime soon) - a classic move to create a new angle and rival for Champ Popular to contend with at next year’s Rumble for Ragnarok CI.
As a HUUGE wrestling fan in my youth, I have to point out the similarities between Dewey’s condensed path to baby-faced stardom and that of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s own meteoric trajectory in becoming one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. Like Dewey, The Rock also comes from wrestling royalty with both his grandfather and father having had storied careers in the business. The Rock’s first character was named “Rocky Maivia” - a constantly smiling, happy-go-lucky fop with floppy hair and flashy outfits that was meant to be a fan favourite. However, the fans HATED Rocky and would regale him with constant jeers and chants of “Rocky Sucks!” It wasn’t until his heel turn and name change to “The Rock” that he was finally able to find his footing and eventually regain face status as the self-proclaimed “Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment.”
Many of the characters we are introduced to are, indeed, actual figures from Norse Mythology.
There are many references to professional wrestling (not including my rambling Rock/Dewey connections:
Scrooge first mentions Jormungandr in "Last Christmas" (S2, E6) when he describes one of his many responsibilities as "keeping the world-eating serpent Jormungandr at bay."
Scrooge is NOT considering Donald and/or Della to take over for him because he sees the nephews (+Webby) as the “new generation” and doesn’t trust D&D to cooperate on a jigsaw puzzle together let alone carry the title of Champion of the World.
Dewey's Champ Popular character is a version of his previously unnamed Big Man on Campus, High School Musical persona from "Nightmare on Kilmotor Hill!" (S2, E19).
Beakley’s turn as the Shield Maiden harkens back to the DT ‘87 episode “Maid of the Myth” where she is abducted by Vikings and plays the part of an opera singing damsel rather than the brawny and capable badass seen here.
The freeze frame ending stopping just short of Champ Popular and the Millionaire Miser coming to blows is an homage to Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed striking that same pose in the closing scene of Rocky III.