The success of the NBA Dream Team has U.S. Olympic officials considering a bold new way to increase this country's medal haul.
If pro basketball players can practically guarantee the gold iBarcelona, the reasoning goes, why not send a squad of pro wrestlers led by Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage to the '96 Summer Games in Atlanta?
"We'd crush those Commie pencil-necked geeks from the U.S.S.R.!" snarled Savage, interviewed in a hotel room in El Paso wearing his trademark zebra sunglasses and a pet boa constrictor wrapped around his neck.
Quietly informed of the demise of Marxism and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union, Savage reportedly became enraged and bit the neck of one reporter while bashing a coffee table over the head of a TV cameraman.
Hulk Hogan, recovering in a Los Angeles hospital from a recent bout in which he was hit over the head with a chair and had his thorax crushed with a flying drop-kick, could not be reached for comment.
While U.S. officials have been hush-hush about the makeup of the "Cream Team," it is likely to include such superstars as Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, Big Boss Man, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret "Hit Man" Hart and The Undertaker.
According to reliable sources, it will be managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, the colorful, ferret-faced tactician who has been known to spit at ringside spectators and shriek: "YO, WHAT HAS AN IQ OF 50?! THE FIRST 10 ROWS OF A WRESTLING CROWD!"
The "Cream Team" fared well in a recent exhibition match against Romania, winning all seven bouts despite a protest lodged by the opposing team when Hit Man Hart climbed into the ring with a chain saw.
"This is not wrestling," fumed Romanian coach Bela Grigoras, who was promptly whacked across the legs by a diamond-studded walking stick wielded by the irrepressible Heenan.
With the referee's attention diverted by the commotion, Hit Man Hart kneed his opponent, Ion Dalescu, in the groin and then delivered what appeared to be a crushing forearm blow to the Adam's apple.
A stunned Dalescu lay writhing on the canvas for several minutes, as the Hit Man strutted about the ring waving his arms over his head and leading the crowd in chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Finally, as Dalescu struggled to his feet, Hart clubbed him across the forehead before forcing him to inhale a substance that, to most observers, smelled suspiciously like ether.
The first of seven consecutive American pins followed seconds later.
Sadly, barring a change in international rules, pro wrestlers in the Olympics would be prohibited from using handcuffs, nightsticks, chairs, brass knuckles, blackjacks, steel-toed boots, 10-penny nails and spray cans filled with deadly insecticide, in addition to chain saws and ether.
The pro wrestlers consider these restrictions incredibly picky.
While amateur grapplers claim to rely on strength, skill and superior physical conditioning, the pros sneer that they'd rather climb into the ring "carrying insurance" in the form of a baseball bat, electric cattle prod or length of garroting wire.
Indeed, in the third bout against the Romanians, the American pros found themselves in need of just such an "edge."
Trailing late in the contest to 19-year-old Illiuta Arkoud, an engineering student at the University of Bucharest, The Undertaker reached into his trunks and promptly pulled out a blowgun.
While the referee's attention was diverted by Heenan, who tripped him with one of his $2,200 ostrich-skinned cowboy boots, The Undertaker fired a tiny dart which caught Arkoud at the base of the neck.
The young Romanian staggered about the ring for severaseconds before collapsing in a heap in the corner.
He was eventually carried from the ring on a stretcher as The Undertaker pranced about the ring holding aloft a mock tombstone and leading the crowd in a chant of "WE'RE NO. 1, WE'RE NO. 1!"
The dart was later reported to have been dipped in curare, a powerful muscle relaxant obtained from the resinous extract of certain South American trees.
Arkoud was originally rumored to have died from an overdose of the drug, although he was discovered some six months later wrestling on the pro circuit in Texas, under the unlikely moniker of the San Antonio Assassin.
The Cream Team's next exhibition match is against Germany, which, in the spirit of international good will, has agreed to both a steel cage match as well as a 20-man Battle Royale.