Spider-Man Episode 17: “Tears of Samson, the Professional Wrestler”
Aired September 6, 1978
Spider-Man dives into the ring to help an aspiring pro-wrestler realize his big brother’s dream. With the Iron Cross Army close by, will the wall-crawling hero be able to do so or face another tragedy?
We begin in a gym where an overweight wrestler named Samson soundly gets his butt kicked by his opponent in red trunks. He charges at him with such ferocity and none of the strategy that red trunks easily knocks him down and the knockdown is declared in a matter of minutes. After the battle, Samson’s brother encourages him that there will be another match where he will finally win, but the poor guy responds he’ll never make it to the big leagues with his skill despite having the body for it.
Out on the street, they talk about how strong people like Rikidozan and Spider-Man are. Cue clip of masked hero beating up Ninders in his leaping manner. Samson wants to meet the superhero and suddenly Amazoness appears telling them in a gentle voice that there is a way. The big bro is suddenly suspicious of her, especially since she still has that pissed off face no matter how pretty and nice she tries to look.
Back at Weekly Woman, Hitomi demands to see the Editor-in-Chief. She has been missing for several days, and I wonder if it’s all because of what happened last episode… Takuya is there, and because he’s not reacting that much, it’s probably confirmed that the staff are human beings, as Ninders can’t type for drek. Hitomi and Takuya leave, and she decides to go to the police to file a missing persons report. Her boyfriend tells her it’s a bad idea as the special police suspect Saeko Yoshida of being a member of the terrorist Iron Cross Army. She could’ve killed Hitomi at anytime, and suddenly his girlfriend screams and runs away for some inexplicable reason.
Takeru spends the day looking for any clues to Yoshida’s disappearance, and finds nothing. When he returns home, Shinko tells him that somebody has called for Spider-Man several times already. The phone rings and Takuya answers and a man calls asking to see the rope-slinger. He decides to meet the man the next day, rather than ask Mamiya to trace the call. The person who called is none other than the brother from earlier, named Nakada. They meet, and Nakada insists that Takuya is Spider-Man because a woman told him. The Iron Cross Army watches from their base and Professor Monster comments how there’s no way he’s their enemy, especially since he’s a no-good slacker. Amazoness tells him that there is a connection especially after what happened last episode, and it all revolves around Takuya Yamashiro. She can’t leave this idea alone, and is ordered to pursue it.
Takuya leaves the area, but Nakada and Samson follow him and tell him their story. Samson has dreams of becoming a top-tier pro-wrestler, and he wants to meet Spider-Man so he train with him to become the next Antonio Inoki or Akira Maeda. Takuya suddenly notices a security camera in the background and decides to leave anyway, as the Iron Cross is recording their conversation. Samson charges at the young man and Takuya falls to the ground after hesitating to lay the smackdown on him. The wrestler cries that he wants to be strong, and Professor Monster will grant that wish. If you are a loyal watcher, you know what happens next and it all goes downhill from here.
Professor Monster has a prehistoric fossil delivered to him, and this isn’t any ordinary bone! It’s the remains of a creature that battled the gladiators in the Roman Colosseum! Because it has absorbed the blood of many ferocious fighters, the beast combined with Samson will make one hell of a Machine Bem.
The next day, Takuya is strength training in order to help Samson. When he arrives at the gym, he can’t find Samson anywhere. Nakada tells Spidey that the same woman who approached them took Samson away, promising him a surgery that would make the man stronger. Spider-Man tells him that they must rush to him before he fully becomes a modified human monster. They go in the same direction Samson went, but is stopped by a Ninder sniper. Spidey goes after the shooter, and when he reaches the roof, Amazoness appears. She tells him it’s too late, and he should give up quietly, especially since she knows his identity. Spider-Man replies, he will do so once he’s destroyed the Iron Cross Army.
Suddenly, Nakada is being chased by a truck and Amazoness orders the driver to kill him. The truck is driven by none other than Samson, fully transformed into a rock creature by Professor Monster. Like the biker episode, Samson is too far gone and runs over his big brother. Spider-Man pursues the truck, but can’t get closer due to a Ninder with a pistol. He disables the shooter and after be driven around by the rock monster some more, he calls for the GP-7. Spider-Man shoots the machine guns, causing the ruck to fall into the water. Ninders in suits appear and they shoot at our hero for the requisite grunt fight scene.
Out of nowhere, Samson grabs on to our hero and tries to throw him. He declares he’ll be the champion of the world once his foe is finished. The killer of cold-blooded Machine Bems isn’t defeated that easily and confronts Samson for his murder of brother Nakada. The narrator reminds the viewer that once you become a Machine Bem, you’re already doomed, as Monster removes any trace of your humanity. Samson grows to giant size and the Leopardon battle begins. Despite being the strongest Machine Bem yet, the robot quickly destroys him with the Arc Turn and Sword Vigor combo.
Once again, Professor Monster has torn apart the bonds between family members, and Spider-Man vows once again that he will destroy him for everybody’s sake.
Story-wise, this wasn’t a necessary episode and was pretty much in the same vein as the episode with the biker. They could’ve focused more on Samson’s struggles, rather than just turning him into the Monster of the Week so easily. All in all, it was just another exercise in the cruelty of the big baddie.