"The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
There's nothing more American than wrestling. That's why the gang has decided to put on a wrestling show for the returning troops. Meanwhile, the soldier Dee has been chatting with online is not what she expected.
12:30PM on a Saturday
As the Gang watches Hulk Hogan face off against Nikolai Volkoff on Dee's laptop, she receives a message from a solider she has been flirting with online. Charlie amps up the rest of the Gang and convinces them to throw a wrestling match to show support for the troops. Frank wants to join as the eponymous "Trashman", but the guys don't approve.
Dennis, Mac, and Charlie attend a local amateur wrestling show and hire the star of the show, Da'Maniac, to be in their own show. He agrees to do it for $30. The boys decide to be his opponent under the characters "The Birds of War". When the realize Da'Maniac might be a real maniac, the decide to find someone else to fight him. The track down Rickety Cricket and convince him to wrestle in the match.
Meanwhile, Dee and Frank meet Ben, the soldier Dee has been chatting with, at a bus stop. When Dee finds out that he is in a wheelchair she claims to not be Desert Rose, her online alias, and runs away. Frank gives him a pair of jean shorts and invites him to the wrestling match. Later, Dee convinces Artemis to pose as Desert Rose and Ben stands up to hug her. Dee becomes jealous and tells Artemis that she plans on stealing him away.
The night of the wrestling match, Da' Maniac is arrested for unpaid parking tickets. The boys decide to wrestle Cricket themselves. Dee sings Seals' "Kiss from a Rose" and it hit with a chair by Cricket, who is dressed as a terrorist ("The Talibum"). Dennis and Charlie try to wrestle Cricket but he just throws sand in their faces. Mac runs away. Frank enters the ring as "The Trashman" and hits Cricket with a trashcan. As Cricket bleeds profusely from the neck, the audience is initially shocked but then cheers for Frank (who raises his arms in triumph as "Real American" plays).
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
- David Hornsby as Rickety Cricket
- Artemis Pebdani as Artemis
- Roddy Piper as Da' Maniac
- Travis Schuldt as Ben (The Soldier)
- Don Frye as Wrestling Opponent
- "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal starts playing at 06:50.
- "Real American" by Rick Derringer plays during the closing credits (which was Hulk Hogan's theme in the WWF).
- Dee's nickname "Desert Rose" is a reference to the 1999 Sting song by the same name.
- According to Mr. DeVito's opinion from this episode commentaries, the first appearance of Ben Smith on the show (in a wheelchair) looks a lot like the scene from James Cameron's "Avatar", which premiered later the same year on December 10th.
- Soldier Ben’s combat badge is of the 4th Infantry Division that at the time was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
- Mac and Charlie used to wrestle as kids and called themselves the "Pigeon Boys".
- "Da' Maniac", the wrestler played by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in this episode, is a reference to the 2008 movie The Wrestler - like the character Randy "The Ram" Robinson from that movie, "Da Maniac" is a wrestler who has fallen on hard times and is wrestling in very small-time events, and who also appears to be living out of his car.
- The slashed neck Rickety Cricket suffers will lead to his voice being greatly altered, and leave a wound that dogs find quite interesting, as we will see in the episode "Mac's Big Break."
- Rickety Cricket's wresting character references the Taliban, of course, but it also references a long tradition in wrestling of having "heels" representing a nation or group the US is in conflict with. The wrestling match the Gang is watching at the beginning of the episode shows Nikolai Volkoff, who played an "evil Russian" character during the Cold War.
- Frank's character, the Trashman, is a reference to "garbage wrestlers ", or wrestlers that compensate for lack of skill through brutal fighting techniques and the use of foreign objects. The Trashman is both a garbage wrestler in this sense, and the literal sense of being a wrestler themed around garbage.
- Ben the soldier is wearing the jean shorts he got in this episode, and wears them in every other appearance he has made on the series since ("The D.E.N.N.I.S. System", "Mac's Big Break", "Dee Gives Birth", and "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare ").
- The wrestling match at the start of the episode was taken from an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event that took place on October 3, 1985 in East Rutherford, NJ at the Meadowlands Arena.
- This episode parodies WWE's Tribute to the Troops special.
- The scene in which Frank enters introducing his character, the Trashman, has achieved memetic status.
|—||“Can I stop you guys for one second? What you just described, now that just sounds like we are singing about about the lifestyle of an eagle.”|
|—||“Well I was under the impression we were presenting ourselves as bird-MEN which, to me, is infinitely cooler than just sort of... being a bird.”|
|—||“Look at this dude. That's just a bucket of chestnuts.”|
|“What is he just foraging for his food?”||—|
|—||“I don't know, why the hell would you have a bucket of chestnuts bro!”|
|—||“(To Mac, about Da'Maniac) You know, he kept calling you the n-word earlier?”|
|“Yeah, I wasn't gonna bring that up, I didn't wanna freak him out...”||—|
|—||“He was calling me the n-word?”|
|“Every time you turned your back!”||—|
|—||“He was like, "You stupid 'n', go get me grease, 'n'...”|
|“"N" this, "N" that...”||—|
|“I don't know, maybe he has a problem with black people...”||—|
|—||“Or does he have a problem with me?”|
|“Both, I think. Maybe both.”||—|
|Dennis, Mac, & Charlie||—||“Stomp! Clap! Stomp! Stomp! Clap! Stomp! Clap! Stomp! Stomp! Clap! The eagle's born out of thunder. He flies through the night. Don't you mess with his eggs now, or you'll see us fight! Yes we have feathers, but the muscles of men. 'Cuz we're birds of war now, but we're also men! Birds of war! Ah ah ah ah!!”|
|—||“I feel like if I come in there, you're just going to throw sand in my eyes, so I'm just going to run away.”|
|—||“So which one is he?”|
|“(Pointing to Ben) Right behind you, in the yellow.”||—|
|—||“Oh, momma like.”|
|—||“Hey, did he send you any dick pics? 'Cause it could be a mess down there.”|
|“For the love of God, please don't ask me about his dick.”||—|
|—||“OK, have it your way, I'll figure it out soon enough.”|
|Da'Maniac||—||“(Very angrily, on the phone at Paddy's) No! I don't give a rat's ass about your collection agency! And as for the fifteen dollar co-payment, eat shit and die! (He smashes the receiver on the phone, then, after an awkward pause, talks to Mac, Dennis, and Charlie.) Sorry. I'm gonna go get greased up, and then, come back and rock on. (He goes into the bathroom.)”|
|—||“Fifteen dollars? He's upset about fifteen dollars?”|
|Season 5 Episodes|
| 1. "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis"|
2. "The Gang Hits the Road"
3. "The Great Recession"
4. "The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention"
5. "The Waitress Is Getting Married"
6. "The World Series Defense"
7. "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops"
| 8. "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens"|
9. "Mac and Dennis Break Up"
10. "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System"
11. "Mac and Charlie Write a Movie"
12. "The Gang Reignites the Rivalry"
13. "A Very Sunny Christmas"