Professional wrestlers are multitalented, multifaceted individuals. In their every day job, they are actors, stunt men, public speakers, athletes, and the best ones are a whole lot more. On a few occasions, that has included trivia buffs and game show contestants. Although wrestling has a somewhat questionable track record with popping up in other media, the pugilists typically blend in pretty well with the prizes. They’ve done so well with one another, multiple game show hosts have popped up on Raw and at WrestleMania (granted, things don’t always go as well when WWE invent their own games).
Game shows are big and silly and garish, so although wrestlers don’t show up that often, maybe they should, because they’re naturals when they do. We’re calling all of these examples ridiculous, and they are, but that’s the point. The best way to actually be cast on a game show is to be excitement personified, and that’s a great way to succeed as a wrestler, too. Wrestlers have popped up on game shows as long as they’ve both existed, and with WWE’s global expansion and switch to PG, the once rare occurrence has become more and more likely. Here are 10 examples that show that can be entertaining as hell, in more ways than one.
10. Roddy Piper And Lou Albano On ‘The New Hollywood Squares’
The Hollywood Squares was a classic game show airing on-and-off since 1966. Celebrities and joke writers would sit in a classic tic-tac-toe board answering trivia questions on behalf of Mr. X and Ms. Circle, who could win the square if their celebrity answered correctly. Of course, the real appeal of the show was when celebrities had no idea and gave joke answers instead, so perhaps it makes sense one of the two WWE performers to appear on the show had a side-career as a stand-up comedian. In the late 1980’s, when the show was The New Hollywood Squares, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano found themselves on the board.
Piper was starting his film career around this time, and Albano was well known for his appearances in music videos and crossover appeal on MTV, so the two were naturals blending in with the silliness of the show. They appeared in a square together, which is probably a good thing considering how much they talked over each other; knowing Piper, distance wouldn’t have stopped him from playing with his friends when the cameras are on him. The two were such naturals it’s almost surprising they didn’t stick around the show longer, although that could be due to the fact it got canceled and renewed seemingly every season.
9. Billy Kidman, Chris Jericho, and Disco Inferno on ‘The Dating Game’
The Dating Game is one of television’s all-time classic game shows. It first aired in 1965, and features three mysterious contestants vying for the affections of a gorgeous bachelor or bachelorette. Obviously, obscurity was a big part of the game, but that didn’t stop three well-known WCW wrestlers from popping up as contestants during the height of the Attitude Era. In late 1999, Chris Jericho, Billy Kidman and Disco Inferno showed up looking to win the bachelorette’s heart. When the show aired, Jericho and Kidman were the WCW Television and Cruiserweight Champions, respectively.
Jericho and Kidman prove they have pretty solid game, which probably isn’t surprising to anybody who knows Kidman eventually married Torrie Wilson for several years. Disco fell somewhere between sweet and creepy, depending on whether or not you knew he was wearing a silver tracksuit at the time. The bachelorette didn’t, but Jericho won the date, anyway. Only male wrestlers appeared in this particular dating game, but don’t worry, divas got the chance to date weird strangers, too—WWE Hall of Famer-turned-adult film star Sunny once appeared on MTV’s Singled Out.
8. Kaz, Samoa Joe, And Curry Man On ‘Distraction’
WWE is the only truly mainstream wrestling company left in America today, so it makes sense their wrestlers would dominate this list. They aren’t the only game in town, though, which is why a few wrestlers from Total Nonstop Action appeared to help Jimmy Carr mess with his contestants on Distraction. Distraction was a British import that aired on Comedy Central in 2005 and 2006. Three contestants answered simple trivia questions while going through physical or mental distractions. In two episodes, the physical distraction saw Kaz, Samoa Joe and Curry Man wrestle the competitors while they were asked questions about Presidents.
In the first episode, Kaz starts, pulling off his Andy Kaufman impression and beating up a poor young woman so bad she can’t stop giggling for long enough to answer a question. Samoa Joe stretches contestant number 2 pretty severely, but the guy still manages a correct answer. Curry Man lives up to his spicy reputation, throwing the third contestant all over the place, but the guy stands tall and manages to answer five questions correctly anyway. The three wrestlers then banded together to carry away the loser, again using their supreme technical prowess to force her to laughter. The second episode goes pretty much the same.
7. WWE Superstars On ‘Fear Factor’
Fear Factor was a game show hosted by Joe Rogan where the winner was the performer to prove fear wasn’t a factor for them. Naturally, the fearless and risk-taking performers of WWE would one day take the call to appear on the show, doing so in 2002. Three male and three female superstars competed against each other. The men were Test and the Hardy Boyz, and the three divas were Molly Holly, Jacqueline and Lita.
The most notable moment of the show happened at the very beginning, when Jeff Hardy realized he couldn’t win the first challenge. Tasked with climbing a rope ladder into a helicopter flying high above a river, Hardy instead jumped off the ladder into the river. Apparently Hardy never got the message large numbers of people actually commit suicide by doing extremely similar things. Regardless, he survived, although he lost the competition. Lita was also eliminated in the first round, and Molly Holly and Test tapped out in round two rather than drink disgusting bile milkshakes. Matt bested Jackie in the final physical challenge, winning $50,000 for the American Cancer Society.
6. Raven, Kimberly Page, And Disco Inferno On ‘Win Ben Stein’s Money’
Win Ben Stein’s Money was a short-lived game show on Comedy Central, and if you’ve never heard of it, well, it was exactly what it sounded like. So clearly based on Jeopardy! it was justifiable as parody, Ben Stein took the classic game show format and offered the minor twist of offering his actual salary as the host for the prize. In 1999, three WCW wrestlers would appear to take the challenge: Raven, Disco Inferno and Kimberly Page.
Those in the know on all matters wrestling might not be surprised to learn Raven absolutely dominated the game. Disco did so poorly he was eliminated in the first round, and Kimberly managed to stick around, but still distantly trailed Raven the entire game. Raven has proven he’s a smart guy behind the scenes on multiple occasions, but ultimately his intellect wasn’t enough to compete with that of Stein’s, who ultimately saved the majority of his money from falling into Raven’s hands in the final round.
5. Chris Jericho, Brian Knobbs, Jim Duggan, And The Giant On ‘Figure It Out’
Figure It Out was a children’s trivia show, originally hosted by Summer Sanders, that initially aired on Nickelodeon from 1997 to 2000. The show was essentially a What’s My Line? for kids, with celebrity panelists attempting to guess the secrets of preteens. WCW had something of a running partnership with Nickelodeon in the late ‘90’s, with “Macho Man” Randy Savage playing a major role at the Kids’ Choice Awards, and the relationship extended to a few wrestlers appearing as guest panelists on Figure It Out.
The WCW superstars didn’t really add anything to the show the usual cavalcade of b-list stars couldn’t provide without them, but they deserve points for their enthusiasm. Naturally, every single one of them got slimed. Jericho in particular seemed to love being covered in the green goop and apparently drank a lot of it while it was being poured on him. Of course, this was the height of the Attitude Era, so maybe he was just a ‘Stone Cold’ fan.
4. NWA V. GLOW On ‘Family Feud’
Everyone remembers WCW vs. WWF. Hardcore fans probably remember SMW vs. ECW, and old school fans might recall AWA vs. World Class. One inter-promotional wrestling war that often gets forgotten was NWA vs. GLOW: the National Wrestling Alliance vs. the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. This feud didn’t take place in the ring or in the ratings, but rather across from each other with Ray Combs moderating the Family Feud.
GLOW was never super successful outside of a few names, none of whom appear on this show, but Team WCW is filled with notable names. There are the late, great workers Brad Armstrong and Brian Pillman, then WCW World Champion Sting, WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross, and ridiculous egomaniac Tom Zenk. The guys soundly topple the female wrestlers of GLOW, with Brian Pillman in particular proving he’s not a loose cannon when it comes to an adept understanding of social trends. They didn’t win the big prize, but still won a sizable donation for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Years later, WWE, WBF, and TNA performers would appear on the show with similar results.
3. D’Lo Brown, Droz, And The Godfather On ‘Say What? Karaoke’
Say What? Karaoke was a late 90’s MTV game show where contestants sang karaoke covers of pop and rock songs, judged by MTV VJs on their performance and knowledge of the lyrics. You might think these three wrestlers were the celebrity judges, but that would make sense, so they were the contestants. In preparation for SummerSlam 1999, WWE and MTV partnered for an entire week of wrestler appearances on MTV television. While most of the programming was based around the wrestlers, MTV also wanted the wrestlers to appear on their already popular shows. This was no problem when Carson Daly interviewed ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin on TRL, but things got a little more awkward when three wrestlers showed up on Say What? Karaoke, ready to sing.
D’Lo Brown performed first, offering a thrilling rendition of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Droz wowed people with “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” New WWE Hall of Fame inductee The Godfather belted out “No Scrubs” by TLC, accompanied by a large group of lovely ladies, as per usual. By and large, the wrestlers only managed to embarrass themselves, singing out of character songs and generally acting unlike their usual selves.
2. Bobby Heenan V. Gorilla Monsoon On ‘Double Dare’
Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon are fondly remembered today as one of the greatest commentary teams in WWE history. In reality, Gorilla and the Brain were more than that, though: they were a world class comedy duo. Double Dare saw them team with child partners in simple trivia contests and light “physical challenges.”
Heenan and Monsoon goofed their way through the game the same way they regularly joked their way through Prime Time Wrestling. Both men boasted they knew every answer but pressed towards the physical challenge almost every round anyway, and Heenan allowed the kids and Monsoon to play him like the world-class clown he is whenever they got to throw food at him. Ultimately both Monsoon and “The Brain” were disqualified, with all prizes going to their teammates.
A second WWE-based episode saw Mr. Perfect and his partner soundly defeat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan’s team, and about a decade later WCW would change the rules of the game, taking out the kids and having two teams of wrestlers battle it out. Misfits In Action members Corporal Cajun and Sgt. A-WOL teamed up to lose to the team of Vito and the returning “Hacksaw.”
1. Ox Baker on ‘The Price Is Right’
Ox Baker was one of the most hated heels of his day, but most fans these days probably wouldn’t even remember who he was. That doesn’t change the joy experienced by the people who do remember him when they watched Ox guffaw his way through an appearance on The Price Is Right back in 1981. Feared by wrestlers everywhere for his devastating Heart Punch, standing next to Bob Barker, Ox looks more like a friendly bus driver than a terrifying monster known for literally punching people to death. His name tag said “Douglas,” but his shirt clues into his true identity, and Barker calls him Ox the whole time, removing any illusion.
Ox fares decently well on the show, winning himself a nice den set in “Poker Game” on his way to the Showcase. He spun the big wheel, but lost, .40 to .80. Memorable in his defeat, fans will always remember the time the fearful Ox jumped up and down in joy at a chance to win a stereo. Much more recently, former WWE superstar Brian Kendrick also appeared on the show.