In 1999, Nintendo had an actual wrestling match with Mario

Back in 1999, around the time of the original Super Smash Bros. release on the N64, Nintendo had a big idea. To promote the game, they went to Vegas, started a wrestling ring, got a bunch of actors to wear Nintendo character costumes, and let them go.

So they did just that. The event, known as Slamfest ’99, was not only performed in front of a live audience, it was also streamed onlineā€”in 1999! – and then be seen a few months later. You’d think that would mean some footage of the stunt survived, but sort of no, that’s not the case, and so a group of “fans and archivists” from the Lost Media Wiki have been scouring the internet for some for a number of years.

Here’s how one of that team, bozo_ssb, describes his efforts:

Despite being broadcast live, and although it’s available to watch again in RealPlayer several months later, no video footage from Slamfest ’99 is known to have survived anywhere on the modern Internet – it’s completely lost. With little evidence that the event even took place, it has shrank in extreme obscurity even among hardcore Nintendo fans for over two decades. As of May 2020, a group of Lost Media Wiki fans and archivists have been actively searching for the lost broadcast material (of which I am a member).

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The bad news is that they still haven’t found any. The good news is that they have now found something. The LMW team managed to track down Ed Espinoza, the producer of Slamfest ’99, and Ed was kind enough to share a few photos he took that day so the world could get a fresh look. like Mario Donkey Kong beat up the tit.

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While no footage has survived, some eyewitness accounts LMW has cataloged here:

Mario and Donkey would start the game. Donkey Kong, who is a lot bigger than our favorite plumber, quickly got Mario out. Yoshi came in and took revenge on the gorilla. Pikachu would go get the monkey only to be knocked out by Yoshi’s deadly tail. Then, before anyone knew it, Mario went insane. He obliterated Donkey Kong, Pikachu, and his own teammate, Yoshi. Ultimately, the match would end in a crash that knocked everyone out, resulting in a tie. “Everyone’s a winner!” yelled the announcer – Zelda64

Mario and Yoshi were on one team, Donkey Kong and Pikachu on the other. It was quite funny to see the life size mascots hopping around a wrestling ring. Mario went on a rampage, hitting everyone in sight, and instead of Yoshi, Donkey Kong accidentally hit himself with his Hammer of Doom. And at the hottest moment, all four mascots collided in the center of the ring and all fell to the mat. That’s right, in true Nintendo fashion, it was a tie… and everyone’s a winner! – Nintendorks

Even the referee chimed in, biting Pikachu’s ear and declaring that it tasted “like chicken.” Mario shocked us with his low-blow antics and Kong KO’d himself with his own magic hammer, but in the end they all became best friends and the match was declared an honorable draw – N64 Magazine

We’ve shared a few of the images here, but here’s a link to the full gallery, which is not only fascinating for the images of the match itself, but also for the shots of the wrestlers warming up without costume. And fun fact: there’s a good chance this whole stunt was just a chance for Nintendo to get their money’s worth with these costumes, since they’re the same ones featured in the classic Smash Happy Together ad see are:

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Super Smash Bros. Commercial (N64)