WWE proudly boasts every time a celebrity so much as negatively tweets about Roman Reigns. Even better if that celebrity tweets something positively about Roman Reigns and the company learns that person is a fan, at which point WWE would likely start reaching out to the celebrity and ask them to make an appearance on Raw. Celebrity involvement and mainstream appeal are two of the things WWE strives for most, but interestingly, for the majority of instances where they had a celebrity in their midst working behind-the-scenes, the company policy was to never mention it on television.
Most of these celebrities had duties in wrestling that were wildly different from their public persona, which could be why whatever wrestling company they were working for didn’t feel the need to mention it. In most cases, that company was WWE, but a few of these celebrities have even worked major roles in smaller companies without too much attention drawn to them, as well. It’s worth noting almost all of these celebs carry at least a little bit of controversy with them, especially insofar as their involvement with wrestling. If you want to know who risked their fame to help out the McMahon family, but didn’t even want the credit, read on and learn about 10 celebrities who were involved with professional wrestling from behind-the-scenes.
10. The Insane Clown Posse – JCW Owners
Fans of the Attitude Era probably have negative memories of ICP’s time in front of the screen on wrestling shows, but they have just as much history backstage, only in a company where way less people are watching. Although not nearly as popular as their stints in WWE or WCW, the Insane Clown Posse still make rare wrestling appearances for Juggalo Championship Wrestling, a company the two founded, own, and operate by themselves.
Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope founded JCW in 1999, and the two basically act as the double-headed Vince McMahon of that company. They’ve performed commentary on most iPPVs and video releases, while also booking, promoting, producing, and usually even wrestling on the shows. JCW started primarily as a comedic side project for the two rappers and some friends, who were all life long wrestling fans. It has only grown in size and reputation since, and recently even began its own Hall of Fame.
9. Wesley Snipes – Signed To WWE Films
Wesley Snipes is an actor best known for his roles in Blade, Demolition Man, and New Jack City. Snipes initial involvement with professional wrestling came during the filming of Blade: Trinity, a film he starred in and featured a minor character played by Triple H. Blade: Trinity was a huge financial success, but it also marked the beginning of the end of Wesley Snipes’ career, as rumors of him being difficult to work with were running rampant during the film’s much delayed release. Making matters worse, shortly after the film finally saw said release, Snipes was arrested and eventually convicted for willfully failing to file income taxes.
Snipes has been out of prison since 2013, but hasn’t had much luck signing on to new films until recently, when he signed a five picture deal with WWE Studios. This hardly makes Snipes the first actor to work with WWE, or even the first name actor, but he is the first actor to sign a multi-picture deal, and it seems like he’ll be doing a whole lot more than just acting, too. No details are concrete yet, but in interviews, Snipes appears prepared to produce and promote the films on top of starring in them. We predict it’s the second movie before his character loses a fight scene to Triple H’s character.
8. Jason Hervey – WCW and TNA Producer
Jason Hervey was a child actor best known for his role as Wayne Palmer on The Wonder Years. He also had minor roles in major films such as Back to the Future and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. These roles obviously came when Hervey was extremely young, and rumor has it by the time his 18th birthday came around he was actually dating wrestling legend Missy Hyatt. While still on The Wonder Years, Hervey appeared on the first and fifteenth Clash of the Champions for WCW.
Either at the shows, before the shows, or shortly after, Hervey also sparked a life long friendship and partnership with WCW executive Eric Bischoff. Hervey used his connection to become a producer for WCW, and he and Bischoff later went into business together as Bischoff/Hervey Productions. Their company has produced a variety of reality and competition shows, but the real bread and butter for the duo has always been producing wrestling. Not only did they work together in WCW, but also in TNA and the short-lived Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling.
7. Jimmy Savile – UK Wrestling Guest Booker
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to see Jimmy Savile as anything but a monster, but part of that is due to the incredible celebrity he built through years of hosting children’s shows for the BBC. Savile was the host of Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops, with a side job of raising a legendary amount of money for charity. In a twist that years later still feels like something out of a psychological thriller, after Savile’s death, so many people came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct that he was eventually designated by the NSPCC as one of the most prolific pedophiles in history.
Much less famously, Savile was also a part-time pro wrestler, and used his connections in the industry to either do charity work or molest children or both. It’s very hard to tell with him. Regardless of his intentions, Savile had connections with wrestling bookers and at least once got an 11-year-old kid who wrote into his show booked on an actual wrestling program. The young fan won a tag team match, with British wrestling legend Big Daddy as his partner. Unfortunately, knowing Savile, there’s no way of telling if that was the best or worst day of that kid’s life.
6. Donald Trump – WWE Host and Sponsor
Donald Trump is a WWE Hall of Famer, so most fans of wrestling or of Trump are probably aware he’s made a couple appearances in WWE. What you may not realize is Trump’s contributions to WWE history extend far beyond his appearances on television. The Donald first started making appearances on Raw circa 2007, but his involvement in WWE goes back to the late 80’s, with a couple of the first few WrestleMania’s.
Both WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V were held at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Well, that’s the official story anyway—the actual building they took place in was the Atlantic City Convention Hall next door to the Casino, but Trump and his businesses were the absolute only sponsors for the show. Considering when these shows occurred, this not only makes Trump the true first ever host of WrestleMania, but also the primary sponsor for the whole of WWE for both years the events took place. Trump may not have done much advertising on his own, but as the host of the show he was also one of the primary promoters of WrestleManias during the years he acted as host, making the McMahon family’s dream of a wrestling promoter rising up to politics a frightening possibility.
5. Billy Corgan – TNA Writer/Producer
Billy Corgan is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the 90’s alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins. Since April of 2015, he has also been one of the Senior Producers of Total Nonstop Action. This has not in any way affected his tour schedule or output as a musician, which may not be as prolific as it once was, but is still busy enough to make it really tough to take on a full-time second job as one of the most important figures in the second largest wrestling company in America.
There’s no denying Corgan is a huge wrestling fan who genuinely wants the best for TNA and whatever fans it has left, but many have criticized the move as hiring a huge fan to run a show he doesn’t entirely understand the business side of. Granted, Corgan has been involved with wrestling in general for years, making appearances in ECW and more recently starting his own promotion, Resistance Pro Wrestling in Chicago. This doesn’t mean Corgan truly understands wrestling, though, and we’re forced to ask why he wants the honey now that he’s already got money.
4. Bob Mould – WCW Writer
Bob Mould is a guitarist and singer-songwriter famous for his work with the bands Sugar and the legendary Hüsker Dü. Although neither of his bands produced any radio hits, almost all of Mould’s music is highly critically acclaimed and well respected amongst music fans. Somewhere amongst Mould’s fans was Jesse Ventura, which eventually lead him to a friendship with an executive working for Ted Turner, and as a favor to Mould, that executive got him a job in the WCW writer’s room in late 1999.
Late 1999 was when the stuff really hit the fan with WCW, and controversial writer Vince Russo has singled out Mould’s involvement as one of the obvious mistakes the company was making. It wasn’t necessarily even anything Mould himself did, but the idea a WCW executive would hire a guitarist they were friends with proved to Russo (and probably a few others) job performance clearly wasn’t the most important thing in WCW, as long as your bosses liked you. Most fans who followed the dirt sheets knew this far too well, but Mould’s hire showed the problems extended beyond the wrestlers and into the corporate offices, as well.
3. Chris Kreski – WWE Head Writer
Chris Kreski is only a celebrity on a very minor scale, but his immediate impact on WWE during his time there dwarves that of almost everyone on this list. While most of us hear “celebrity” and think “big time movie star,” authors, producers, and writers all earn a certain degree of celebrity from their work as well, at least if that work is successful or particularly good. Kreski spent a little bit of time in front of the camera, too, but he made his true mark on the world as a producer of a variety of MTV programs during the early 90’s and as one of the first head writers of The Daily Show. While working for MTV, Kreski also appeared in a variety of commercials for the network, and had his name plastered throughout bookstores as the co-author of a number of high profile celebrity biographies.
After working as a TV writer and producer for years, Kreski became the head writer of WWE television in late 1999. Kreski remained in charge for slightly over a year, and it’s worth noting from a ratings and critical perspective, it may have been the best year in WWE history. Unfortunately nepotism won out over ratings and proven success, as he was replaced as head writer by Stephanie McMahon. Shortly thereafter Kreski left WWE to pursue outside opportunities and tragically passed a few years later due to cancer.
2. Patrice O’Neal – WWE Writer
Patrice O’Neal was one of the greatest and most respected stand-up comedians of his generation. He was also an actor and appeared in TV shows including The Office, Chappelle’s Show and Arrested Development. For a few short weeks near the year 2000, Patrice was a writer for WWE, as well. In an odd twist of fate, by hiring one of the best comedians in the world as a writer, WWE simultaneously offered an explanation towards why their brand of comedy always seems out-of-touch and borderline offensive.
Patrice was an incredible comedian mostly because few people understood how people think quite as well as Patrice did. He gained this understanding by constantly touring and interacting with his public, which he intended to continue doing while a WWE writer. Unfortunately, WWE wanted him at every single Raw and SmackDown taping, which would have heavily cut into his touring schedule, so he skipped those tapings to make his club dates, and he was quickly fired. While Patrice seemed least affected out of everyone by the news he was fired, his tenure with WWE begs the question of how exactly WWE expects a good writer to stay a good writer while taking away everything that made them so. Patrice passed away in 2011 after suffering a stroke.
1. Freddie Prinze, Jr. – WWE Director, Writer, and Producer
Quite possibly the most famous person to be a long-term tenured employee of WWE behind-the-scenes is none other than Freddie Prinze, Jr. Prinze is a world famous film actor as the star of I Know What You Did Last Summer, She’s All That, and Scooby-Doo amongst countless others. Prinze has also worked for WWE at least twice, first as a writer and creative consultant, and later as a director and producer. The relationship apparently began when Prinze attended WrestleMania and a “lady who worked for the company” began asking him what he liked and disliked about the show. Although Prinze apparently doesn’t know who that lady was, she then introduced him to Stephanie McMahon, who apparently hired him on the spot.
Prinze was responsible for a great deal of action in WWE during his tenure there, and he most proudly reflects on the fact he pitched the idea that led to Jeff Hardy winning the WWE World Championship. Unfortunately, the demands of a professional wrestler are apparently even more strenuous than the demands of an actor, and Prinze immediately quit WWE after witnessing Steve Austin tell an aspiring wrestler that no superstar ever won Parent of the Year. It’s noble Prinze wanted to be a better parent, but then again, superstars don’t typically win Teen Choice Awards, either.
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