In recent years, the term “professional wrestling” has been slowly waned away from usage on WWE television. Instead, the product is “sports entertainment,” and it features “Superstars” not wrestlers. If the line gets blurred too much, though, the competition becomes self-mockery. Fans can only suspend their disbelief so far.
Professional wrestling organizations have been inviting celebrities as early as the 70s. Why? To not only gain a new audience, but also to blur the lines of professional wrestling and pop culture. It's a rather ingenious idea if you think about it.
Some celebrities have done well in their brief appearances in the world of wrestling. This past SummerSlam, Stephen Amell, star of “Arrow,” had a decent display in his match. Mike Tyson’s work in WWE did well for the company. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a few others also had respectable roles. Lawrence Taylor, or L.T., is the stand out here for his entertaining contest with Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI.
Yet others belonged nowhere near the ring. The following is a list of 10 Celebrities We Wish Never Appeared In The World Of Professional Wrestling.
10 Mr. T
The only reason why Mr. T is on this list is because his presence on WWF television came at a time when the business was still very much protected. Ironically, in a segment where Hulk Hogan put comedian Richard Belzer in a front neck lock and knocked him out on television to protect the sanctity of the sport, Mr. T was sitting beside Hogan. That shows, in fact, that Mr. T was considered one of the boys. (Side note: Belzer sued the Hulkster for $5 million for the incident.)
9 Donald Trump
Donald Trump didn’t actually wrestle a match with the WWE, but the controversial business executive was featured predominantly in a major story line. In what was deemed “The Battle of the Billionaires,” Trump butted heads with the WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon.
In the contest, the two billionaires brought a wrestler each to represent them, and the loser's head would be shaved. McMahon brought Umaga who was defeated by Trump’s Bobby Lashley. Enter Trump’s defining moment in WWE: forever ridding the world of McMahon’s luscious slick-back afro.
8 Dennis Rodman
In another life, Dennis Rodman would have been an amazing professional wrestler. He’s got the size, athleticism, and a great deal of charisma. His public PR stunts would have better served his persona as a wrestler than a basketball player. But nobody can doubt the benefit Rodman gave the Chicago Bulls’ championship teams.
Basketball is where he should have stayed. Hanging around as hype man for Hulk Hogan is one thing. But actually stepping into the ring? What is it with Hogan having matches with non-wrestlers? This trend continues down the list.
7 Floyd Mayweather
To be fair, Floyd Mayweather Jr. did a lot right in the buildup to his encounter with The Big Show. The truth is, Mayweather would be an absolutely perfect professional wrestler. He is arrogant and bold and doesn’t take prisoners. He doesn’t care if he’s loved or hated as long as he’s winning. He has a persona that would translate over to wrestling with high success.
6 Karl Malone
Karl Malone was the other participant in the contest with Rodman and Hogan. He teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page to take on the nWo. Whereas Rodman had the persona of a wrestler, Malone was little else than a prop used for his size. Sure, at 6’9” and 250 pounds, Malone is an imposing figure. But when you move like molasses in the ring, there’s no obvious threat. Perhaps the bookers should have had Rodman and Malone slug it out with their fists instead of attempting wrestling moves.
5 Drew Carey
Of all the surprise entrants who’ve entered the Royal Rumble, Drew Carey is the most unbelievable. Yes, the comedian was inserted into the 30-man battle royal to earn the right to face the WWF Champion at WrestleMania. Although Carey belonged nowhere near the ring, his comedic presence carried over well.
Unlike another comedian who appears later in the list, Carey was portrayed as an outsider who posed no legitimate threat. His presence in the Rumble was him standing around, impressed by the action. Kane was not impressed, however. In the only real action Carey got himself into, Kane grabbed him by the throat, ready for a Chokeslam. Raven saved the day, attacking Kane from behind. Carey then jumped over the top rope, eliminating himself from the match.
Contrary to popular belief, not everybody in New Jersey is familiar with this reality star. In the words of legendary wrestler William Regal, Snooki and her cohorts “besmirched” the image of the state’s residents. Leave that program for those who care about it, right? Well, not when it’s presented to you in the WWE.
3 Jay Leno
Jay Leno had a contest in WCW. Against who? You guessed it, Hulk Hogan. Once again DDP was thrown into the contest. I guess the theory was you had one worker to take the stink off the other three. But we still smelled it guys.
Eric Bischoff, the WCW’s Executive Director and on-air evil boss persona, tagged with Hogan against the team of Page and Leno. Bischoff is no monster, but he has acclaim in various fighting styles including amateur wrestling and a black belt in karate. Does anybody believe that Leno posed a threat to either Bischoff or Hogan?
2 Muhammad Ali
In a match that could have been the biggest cross-promotional encounter in the history of both boxing and professional wrestling, we have a contest that everybody involved would do well to pretend never happened. The build-up to this match was incredible, and it was at a time when most people still believed that pro wrestling was in fact a credible combat sport.
Muhammad Ali squared off against Japanese mega-star Antonio Inoki. Consider him the cross between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan. Inoki’s the founder of Japan's top promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as one of the most dominant forces the world of pro wrestling has ever seen. If done right, this bout would have propelled both sports into the stratosphere of popular culture.
1 David Arquette
David Arquette is a name that puts a sour taste in the mouth for many wrestling fans. Not because they particularly dislike the guy. But because he was involved in one of the biggest shams in the history of the industry. For one brief moment in time, the actor reigned as WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
His connection to WCW was the result of a movie deal. To be fair, if you watch “Ready to Rumble” as a wrestling fan and not as a film critic, it’s not a terrible experience. But for that experience to spill over into the actual ring, there’s a serious problem.
Arquette himself is not to blame for this decision. He has since been overly apologetic to wrestling fans for what he was forced to do. The blame for this one lies solely on the shoulders of Vince Russo. As a writer during the WWF’s notorious Attitude Era, Russo moved over to WCW and continually tried to push the envelope. He considered controversy more important than competition. Russo has also gone on record as saying that he feels championship belts are meaningless in wrestling because the action is predetermined. Well, he certainly did his best to make the WCW World Heavyweight Championship look meaningless for a brief moment in time.
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