For pop culture fanatics of a certain vintage, Celebrity Deathmatch was essential - and hilarious - viewing. Eric Fogel's ludicrously over the top MTV show - which pitted fictional, claymation versions of celebrities against each other in a gruesomely violent fight to the death, was as much a staple of the late 90s and early 00s as nu metal, South Park and The Simpsons. Whether you were watching on MTV in the States or Channel 4 in the UK, every episode felt unmissable.
This week, a classic face-off from the show has been doing the rounds over two decades after its initial broadcast, and it stars two metal icons from two very different ends of the genre. In one corner, James Hetfield, lionesque Metallica frontman, thrash metal innovator and man of a thousand 'YEAAAAAH's. In the other, Fred Durst, Limp Bizkit frontman, king of nu metal and scourge of metal elitists everywhere.
First aired on the episode The Battle Of The Heavy Metal Maniacs on August 3, 2000, the Hetfield/Durst fight is a brilliant and lovingly daft reminder of just how colourful this era in metal history was. "Hetfield has survived nearly everything a rock star can, including nearly being incinerated on stage," remarks Celebrity Deathmatch commentator Nick Diamond (voiced by Len Maxwell), referencing the infamous night James Hetfield caught fire while Metallica were on tour with Guns N' Roses. "But nothing burns him up more than the recent onslaught of imitators!" Gomez adds.
"Fred Durst is renown for his amazing energy," notes co-commentator Johnny Gomez (Maurice Schlafer). "He not only sings; he also directs his band's videos and works as a Vice President at Interscope Records. Plus, he does it all for The Nookie!"
As the fight begins, both Hetfield and Durst are shown wearing iron-clad suits of armour "to make this heavy metal match even heavier", with electromagnetic turnbuckles added to the ring to spice things up even further. The brawl itself starts with some classic metal trash-talking from both frontmen, before punches start flying, blood starts flowing, the electromagnetic turnbuckles come into a play and...well...we'll let you see what happens next. Let's just say we're not going to be grating any cheese on our dinner any time soon.
Watch the classic video via the always excellent Crazy Ass Moments In Nu Metal History Instagram account below.