The Thrilla' in Phila
|Season 2, Episode 21|
May 5, 1995
Cory and Shawn are hanging out in the hallway where they are approached by Topanga, who would like to know what they accomplished in their first year of high school so that she can add it to the yearbook. Cory and Shawn realize that they haven't achieved anything, and while Shawn is fine with it, Cory yearns to make a name for himself. He blames the nearby jocks, telling Shawn that the jocks, with their jackets and their girls, will prevent him from ever being something. Savage, the captain of the wrestling team, has another jock pick up Shawn, who he claims is too heavy, and then Cory, who he adds is the perfect size. Savage tells Cory that they need someone in a lightweight class for their wrestling team, and that Cory is now one of them. They give Cory a varsity jacket as well as Candy, a girl who will be with Cory at all times.
Meanwhile, Mr. Feeny's history class is interrupted by a masseuse, who comes in to give Griff Hawkins a massage. Mr. Feeny refuses to tolerate Griff's antics, and wheels Griff out of the room, only to see Frankie and Joey return from the airport with a crate of fresh lobsters, imported from Maine just this morning. Griff invites Feeny to a late lunch, offering him a 4 pound lobster if Feeny can drop the matter at hand, but Feeny simply tells Griff that he's got detention after class. When Frankie and Joey attempt to follow Griff into detention, Feeny bluntly asks how come they haven't got lives of their own. While Frankie doesn't mind having his whole life revolve around being a lackey, Joey on the other hand cannot handle having his own life, independent from serving someone else.
The next morning, Amy and Alan watch as Eric struggles down the stairs, with a toothbrush in his mouth and Cory on his back, who has his arms wound tightly against Eric's throat. Cory tells his parents that he is now part of the school's wrestling team, which Alan is ecstatic over, although Amy is against it, believing Cory will be severely hurt. Regardless, Alan signs Cory's permission slip.
Later that day at Chubbie's, Topanga asks Cory, who's with Candy, about his greatest achievement (which Cory says is being on the wrestling team), and his personal quote, which Cory says is "Rrrr!". Topanga decides to ask Shawn his questions for the yearbook but ends up asking him what Cory would be like in 10 years, instead of asking Shawn where he'd be in ten years. Shawn realizes Topanga likes Cory and begins to tease her, causing her to get defensive quickly.
Mr. Turner sees Cory and another member of the wrestling team roughing it out and assumes they are beating up Cory. He comes to Cory's "rescue" and asks Cory which one of the jocks threw the first punch, only to be surprised at the fact that Cory did. Cory tells Turner that he is now a jock, and they were just horsing around. Mr Turner, like Amy, believes Cory will be severely hurt, but Cory assures him that since he is the only person in his weight class, he will never have to fight anybody. However, just as he says this, Savage walks in and tells Cory that someone else has signed up for the team in his weight class. Frankie walks in, with Cory wondering from which range his weight class is in, although Griff walks in after and tells him that he'll be fighting Joey, who joined the team in order to make a name for himself and be his own person.
The next day, Shawn walks in as Cory is skipping rope, which breaks in two. Cory tells him that since lifting weights is too heavy for him, this is pretty much the only time of workout he can do. Frankie and Joey walk in and begin their training as well, Frankie assuming a sumo position he learned from touring Japan the previous summer. Joey is unable to take down Frankie the first two times, which makes Cory believe that the match is in the bag, but on the third time, Joey rushes at Frankie and then jumps up, kicking Frankie in his face. Cory tugs at Shawn's arms, scared.
During the match, Shawn tells Cory that if Joey was able to take down Frankie, "the unmovable", then all he'd have to do is move. When the match begins, Joey rushes at Cory. Cory moves, which causes Joey to turn around and ask Frankie if his opponent is allowed to move. With his back turned to Cory, Cory easily takes Joey down. Joey is kicked off the team and Cory is allowed to keep his spot. Joey demands a rematch, but Savage tells him that Cory won fair and square, with prompts Joey to ask for a match that's unfair and unsquare.
Joey begins to constantly harass Cory, calling him yellow, until Cory tells Joey to stop doing that. Joey demands a rematch, and Savage tells him to simply pound Joey. Griff walks in and tells them that he swiped Janitor Bud's keys, and arranges a rematch between the two tonight at the school gym.
Cory and Shawn go to school at night, Cory believing that no one will be there except Griff and the jocks, but is surprised to see "the whole school" there (the popular clique, at the very least). Cory attempts to back down, but Griff refuses to let him, telling him that he pulled a lot of strings and called in a lot of favors in order to set up this match. Robert Goulet then walks in, and soon so does Yasmine Bleeth, from Baywatch. Eric shows up as well, having paid $50 to watch "an idiot get pounded" (it says so on the ticket) as well as sit next to Yasmine. Goulet announces that Frankie's pro wrestling father, Vader, is also in attendance. Vader tells Cory that if he manages to take down Joey, he'll have to fight him afterwards.
Shawn accidentally rings the bell, commencing the match. Once more, Cory easily overpowers Joey. Joey, defeated. tags Frankie in. Eric rushes to Cory's side, telling Cory to get out, but Cory tells him that in doing so, Eric is now tagged in. Frankie pulls Eric into the ring. Eric tries rushing at him, but fails, and resorts to flicking Frankie in the forehead twice, which causes Frankie to fall down in pain. Frankie tags his father in, who grabs Eric by his body and by his groin and hoists him up into the air. However, before he can do any serious damage, Mr. Feeny walks in along with Mr. Turner, and asks Vader to put Eric down. Feeny gets into the ring and tells Vader that if he doesn't put Eric down, he'll reveal to everyone that Vader's real name is, in fact, Leslie. Vader puts Eric down and the match is concluded, with Cory being named the winner, as he did take Joey down.
Cory tells Savage that he no longer wishes to be on the wrestling team, and turns his jacket in. Candy tells him that she goes wherever the jacket goes, and she leaves with Savage. Topanga approaches Cory to give her a quote for the yearbook. Cory asks Topanga what she wrote, and then tells her to write down the same thing for him.
Later that day, Feeny has Griff, Joey, Frankie and Cory in detention. Although Cory is scared to spend detention alone with them, Griff tells him that detention with him is a pleasure, at which point Robert Goulet walks in and begins to sing, and all four of the students are seen enjoying the performance.
- The episode's title is a play on the "Thrilla in Manila", the nickname given by Muhammad Ali to the 1975 WBA/WBC Heavyweight Championship boxing match in which Ali defended his title against Joe Frazier.
- The captain of the wrestling team is named Savage; Cory Matthews is played by Ben Savage.
- Cory's blood type is stated to be AB negative. Mr. Turner refers to this blood type as the universal recipient. AB positive is the actual universal recipient.
- Frankie Stecchino's father, Vader, is seen in this episode, with Mr. Feeny addressing him by his real name, Leslie. However, in a future episode, his name is revealed to be Frankie Stecchino, Sr.