WWE and Vince McMahon have a long history of attempting to wrestle with comedy, and to put it lightly, their efforts have a tendency to be hit or miss. To be more specific, WWE has proven time and time again that wrestling writers don’t exactly jive with most people’s definition of comedy, and in fact relatable versions of the concept might not even be in their wavelength. In all fairness, when things get flipped around and comedy writers have tried their hands at wrestling, the results have also been hit and miss—but those hits have often been far greater than any comedy WWE could ever contrive.
Sitcoms and sports go hand in hand, since a good comedy show is a reflection of modern times, and people of all eras love watching sports. Wrestling and sports entertainment are a fringier part of society, but it’s definitely popular enough that colorful sitcom characters could find themselves a proud part of the WWE Universe. Plenty of wrestlers have tried their hand at acting, but this isn’t just about wrestlers popping up on Baywatch, this is about times wrestling walked into a primetime sitcom and stole the show. Read on and discover the 15 most ridiculous sitcoms episodes entirely about professional wrestling.
15. South Park – W.T.F. Champions
Modern day WWE is marketed towards children, so perhaps it makes sense the first show to appear on our list features a cast blessed with the eternal youth of animation. The boys become fans of WWE after watching a match between Edge and John Cena and decide to become wrestlers and join the school team, but as many young fans quickly realize, professional wrestling and amateur wrestling are extremely different, and it turns out the boys are extremely uninterested in the amateur variety. As a result, they form their own Wrestling Takedown Federation, and create an entertainment spectacle worthy of the McMahon’s. Major characters include evil Russians and poor immigrant women, and the only person complaining are the boys’ former wrestling coach. Even Vince McMahon is interested in the boys’ show, but it gets sabotaged when the coach arrives and kills Kenny before they can truly start. Naturally, Vince is impressed with the coach’s passion and gives him a job, despite the murder.
14. City Guys – Prove Their Street Cred With RVD
City Guys has almost been entirely forgotten for a network TV show that lasted five seasons during the late 90s. The show was a classic high school comedy with plenty of close similarities to Saved By The Bell, with the glaring exception being that City Guys focused on a poorer and more urban group of teens. Reflecting on their street cred, when the cast of the show became interested in pro wrestling, they didn’t head to WWE or even WCW, but rather the hardcore halls of ECW. In the episode “El-Trainmania IV,” student El-Train is offered the chance to become a wrestler, and he trains in darkened gyms with none other than Rob Van Dam. El-Train actually gets his shot by interrupting RVD’s training session when he runs into the ring fearing his undefeated hero is in danger, predating the plot of Ready To Rumble by a full year. Train ends up as RVD’s tag team partner, but his commitment to charity work and helping children eventually cuts his career short.
13. Married…with Children – Bundy Family Secrets
In the first season of Married…with Children, King Kong Bundy proved he was a member of that Bundy family by appearing as their Uncle Irwin. Ten years into the show’s run that family bond was forgotten, and Bundy reappeared as his wrestling character, unrelated to the cast of the show. Nonetheless he was integral to their lives, as in the episode “Flight of the Bumblebee” a young adult Bud was looking to be accepted into his father’s men’s club, NO MA’AM. The final step of Bud’s initiation is to get a photograph with the famous wrestler, but naturally things go wrong and Bud ends up in the ring against him while dressed as a bumblebee instead. NO MA’AM end up changing their minds on the whole wrestling thing once they found an unexpected side effect anyway—it turned out their wives loved emulating the violence they saw on TV even more than they did.
12. The Munsters – The Original Big Bad Monster
The Munsters was a 60s sitcom about a family of monsters, with the main characters all based on classic horror characters. While that was a pretty silly concept even for the time, somehow it fits perfectly within the world of professional wrestling, so it makes sense an early episode would combine the two. In “Herman The Great,” Eddie Munster becomes friends with the son of a wrestling manager, who is deeply impressed with Herman’s seemingly superhuman Frankenstein’s monster strength. Herman briefly pursued a career in wrestling as a result, performing as The Masked Marvel. Herman’s first match is a loss to a grappler played by wrestling legend Gene LeBell, and right away the politics of wrestling get really confusing. Most of these shows present wrestling as scripted, and so does The Munsters, but somehow Herman is able to flip the script and get screwed out of a victory when LeBell’s character tricks him. Herman finally wins a match at the end of the episode, but he needed Grandpa’s magic to do so, and this accidentally caused the building to catch fire and the Munsters time in the wrestling world to come to an end.
11. The League – Redefining The Freedom Of Lucha Libre
The League revolves around a fantasy football league, but the guys on the show are clearly sports fans of the general variety, so it makes sense wrestling would be one of the many sports they call themselves fans of. Well, at least that’s what we’d assume, but the manner through which the league is introduced to lucha libre is more terrifying than entertaining, thanks to the interference of Mexican wrestling aficionado, Raffi. In “The Anchor Baby,” Raffi forces Andre and Kevin to due battle over a questionable trade, and things only get worse after Raffi declares Brian (Kevin) the winner. Raffi then decides to wrestle Ruxin to determine who fathered Ruxin’s son echoing Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, but a diabetic episode stops Raffi’s attack in the ring.
10. The Beverly Hillbillies – Granny Predicts Mae Young
While The Beverly Hillbillies might make wrestling fans think about The Godwinns or similar characters, when the Clampetts decided to hit the ring, they actually had a lot more in common with Mae Young. Amazingly, the show aired in the 60s, meaning they somehow predated the oldest woman in wrestling staking her claim to fame. While Young was merely a struggling wrestler in her mid 40’s, the Hillbillies aired “The Rasslin’ Clampetts,” an episode where Granny becomes enamored with ladies wrestling on television. Unfortunately, parts of the stereotypes held true with Granny, and she also believed wrestling was real. As a result, Granny ran all the way to the nearest arena to beat up a heel just for picking on a babyface from Tennessee.
9. Night Court – A Different Type of Wrestler’s Court
Night Court takes place entirely within a court of law, so it might feel a little out of place for one of the regulars to decide to quit their job and become a wrestler. After putting a little more thought in it, though, any of the bailiffs make sense, and Bull was the one to take up the call. In “Battling Bailiff,” a wrestling promoter defending his top star, played by Lou Ferrigno, is impressed by Bull’s control over the court, and suggests he become a wrestler. Bull dives into his new profession and gets to debut at Madison Square Garden, but breaks the script and runs off as soon as he sees the crowd, simply because he feels a little bit silly. That might land him in some trouble with Wrestler’s Court, but Judge Harry and friends were happy to have Bull back.
8. Trailer Park Boys – The Green Bastard Takes Over The Park
The boys in the trailer park seem like obvious wrestling fans, and we’re not saying that because of unfair stereotypes about wrestling fans. We’re saying that because of their unabashed commitment to alcohol fueled fun, which big portions of wrestling can certainly be. So naturally, once Ricky tells Bubbles that he set up a wrestling ring for the park’s Community Day fundraiser, he’s overjoyed and already has his wrestler costume and character all picked out—The Green Bastard. Ricky gets in the ring as the Bastard’s tag team partner in a war against Mr. Lahey and Randy for control of the park. The match gets thrown out pretty quickly after it predictably descends into chaos, and too many bodies are in the ring for a normal contest to take place. That doesn’t stop The Green Bastard from hanging out in the ring by himself late at night for the unforeseeable future.
7. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – The Maniac Loves Wrestling
“The Gang Wrestles For The Troops” goes all in on professional wrestling from the very first shot. The gang is huddled around a table at Paddy’s watching footage of an old Hulk Hogan match on the Internet. Frank and Dee discuss whether or not wrestling is fake (Frank is sure it’s real), while Mac admires Hulk Hogan’s “power seizure.” They decide to put on their own wrestling show to celebrate Dee’s online boyfriend, who recently returned from a tour of duty overseas, and cutting corners as always they hire local legend The Maniac to star in their main event. A terrifyingly funny “Rowdy” Roddy Piper plays The Maniac to perfection in arguably his greatest acting role, They Live inclusive. Unfortunately for the gang, his mania is not relegated to the wrestling ring, and he gets arrested right before the show forcing The Birds of War and The Trashman to step in. Frank’s Trashman wins the match when he plays it for a shoot—he knew that shit wasn’t fake.
6. The Drew Carey Show – Triple H Proves His Discipline
The Drew Carey Show was about a mid-management worker and his low-class friends, so the stereotype would have to follow that they’re all big fans of pro wrestling. In “Rats, Kate’s Dating A Wrestler,” Kate proves she’s the biggest fan of them all when she starts dating The Disciplinarian. Triple H plays the Disciplinarian, proudly carrying the WWE Intercontinental Championship he wore in the ring around the time the episode was shot. Not only does The Disciplinarian date Kate, he also becomes the sponsor of Buzz Beer, but only for a short while. Eventually the episode turns into a public service announcement, when The Disciplinarian has a bad match and blames his performance on drinking too much Buzz Beer. It ends up working for the best when his PSA turns into an ad—everyone wants to try the beer that knocked out the champ.
5. That 70s Show – The Most Electrifying Role In Sports Entertainment History
Part of the appeal behind That 70’s Show was the retro feeling that permeated through every scene and set piece, and an easy way to establish that feeling is to have characters portraying celebrities of that era. If you can get one of those celebrity’s children to play them, that goes a long way in verisimilitude, and it helps if that kid is one of the biggest stars on the planet, as well. In the episode, Red and Eric decide to spend more time together by attending a wrestling show. Rocky Johnson, portrayed by his famous son, The Rock, headlines the show. After the match, Red and Eric get the superstar’s autograph, and he makes sure to tell the world to look out for that son of his—he might be something in a few decades.
4. Dexter’s Laboratory – Monkey vs. Rasslor
Like many cartoons of its era, Dexter’s Laboratory is fondly remembered for a variety of shows within the show, and perhaps the most famous of those are the tales of his pet superhero Monkey. In one of Monkey’s finest hours, the other shows within a show are present as well for an intergalactic battle for supremacy. Instead of the usual superhero battles for supremacy, however, these battles take place in a wrestling ring operated by the villainous Rasslor, voiced by “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Rasslor is an alien seeking to prove his in-ring prowess on various planets throughout the galaxy, and he inevitably has destroyed every planet he’s visited feeling a lack of competition. Rasslor soundly defeats Monkey and all of The Justice Friends, but he’s eventually moved by Monkey’s steadfast refusal to quit, and decides to spare Earth as a result. The little Monkey saved us again—ooooh yeah!
3. Boy Meets World – Vader Interrupts Topanga’s Birthday
Boy Meets World actually had several episodes about pro wrestling, and in a manner of speaking, the entire show can be considered to exist within the WWE Universe simply because of one gigantic reason. The star of the show is Cory Matthews, and one of his fellow students in high school is Frankie Stechino. Stechino was a big and tough bully with a soft soul, who becomes good friends with Cory and Shawn after they help him become closer with his father. And as things would have it, Stechino’s father was none other than Big Van Vader, appearing as his himself. Vader actually gets in the amateur-wrestling circle with Cory in an early episode, but the real standout for WWE fans is “Six Candles and 400-lb. Men.” In that episode, Vader calls upon his son’s friend’s wrestling expertise for help in beating Jake Roberts. Brother Love also makes an appearance, and the winner of the match will earn a right to go to Madison Square Garden and face Shawn Michaels for the belt. Naturally, Vader wins, and Cory even manages to dance with Topanga at her Sweet Sixteen party during the rest spots.
2. Nikki – Kevin Nash Beats Up A Crybaby
Nikki didn’t last long, and may be one of the last shows wrestling fans expected to see on a list about the sport they love, but if they ever watched it they wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest. Nikki Cox starred on the show, and her character’s husband Dwight was a professional wrestler named The Crybaby. He was rarely that successful, but now and again a big name wrestling star would show up and elevate Dwight’s fame. In an early episode called “Stealing Nikki,” Kevin Nash co-starred as The Big Easy, World Champion of the promotion where Dwight is a trainee. The Big Easy picks Dwight as his next opponent, but only because he knows the match script will call for him to kiss Nikki once he wins. Nikki admiringly watches her husband climb the card with joy until The Big Easy kidnaps and kisses her, making her extremely uncomfortable—until she finds out he’s gay. Nikki might not have been a comedy classic, but it handles the idea of a tough gay wrestler shockingly well, especially considering it predated Darren Young by over a decade.
1. Learning The Ropes – Entire Sitcom Based On Wrestling
While the other shows on this list used wrestling as a plot device for one episode or one character, one short-lived program took things to the next level. Learning The Ropes was a Canadian-produced sitcom that aired for one year in syndication in the United States. The series starred former NFL star Lyle Alzado as a teacher who moonlights as a professional wrestler, predating Matt Striker by decades. The show was produced with the cooperation of the NWA, and wrestlers like Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and Ronnie Garvin would regularly make appearances to grapple with The Masked Maniac, who was in turn played by Steve Williams acting as Alzado’s double. The show mostly received negative reviews, but wrestling fans would no doubt appreciate the cavalcade of 80’s superstars who appeared in every episode.