World Wrestling Entertainment is usually desperate for mainstream attention, and one of their easiest and favorite ways to achieve that attention is by inviting special celebrity guests into the ring. From Mike Tyson to Donald Trump in WWE, and Andy Kaufman to Dennis Rodman outside of it, celebrities have been involved in some of the biggest matches in wrestling history. The WWE Hall of Fame even has a celebrity wing, showing just how highly they view this tradition. Typically, the celebrities who actually get in the ring are pretty big wrestling fans themselves, or they probably wouldn’t have signed on to the idea. At the same time, though, there are plenty of celebrities who are huge wrestling fans that WWE would never let into the ring.
In fairness, a few of these celebrities might just not want to get involved with wrestling, either for their health or any number of other reasons. Some might have some specific reasons they’d want to avoid WWE in particular. We’re simply pointing out it’s a point of public knowledge that these celebrities are at least some level of wrestling fan, and WWE seemingly has no interest in asking them to step into the ring. Not all of these celebrities are A-listers, but they all have a pretty big deal of name value as far as mainstream press is concerned, so WWE wouldn’t exactly hurt to have them show up on Raw. For reasons why they aren’t asking, you can tweet at the celebs or WWE and try your luck. All we can do is give you a list of 15 celebrity wrestling fans WWE will never allow inside a wrestling ring.
15 Billy Corgan
Billy Corgan is a singer and songwriter famous as the driving creative force behind Smashing Pumpkins. With his insular lyrics and heavy guitar riffs, Corgan spearheaded an era of disillusionment and helped revolutionize alternative rock, releasing several albums still considered classics to this day. Songs such as “1979” and “Cherub Rock” still get play on alternative rock radio and end up in dozens of best of the ‘90s list, and Corgan’s guitar work and songwriting were the biggest part of the puzzle behind the group’s success. Corgan is also a hardcore wrestling fan, and we mean that in more ways than one.
Corgan first made his fandom known when he appeared on several ECW shows in 2000, and has since helped promote shows for both Ring of Honor and Mexico’s AAA. More famously than either of those gigs, Corgan accepted a position as TNA’s Senior Producer of Creative and Talent Development. WWE almost openly ignores TNA and acts like they aren’t even competition, and they basically aren’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from blackballing anyone who weasels their way into TNA management. It’s a reasonable move, too, since TNA is legendarily mismanaged, and WWE would obviously want to distance themselves from anybody who was involved in that company’s high level mistakes, regardless of how famous the songs they wrote once were.
14 Bob Mould
Bob Mould has plenty in common with Billy Corgan, only he followed the same strange career path about a decade earlier than he did. Mould was one of the singers and songwriters behind the legendary ‘80s punk group Hüsker Dü. Hüsker Dü were one of the first bands to bridge the gap between punk and alternative, and it was Mould’s musicianship and personal heartfelt lyricism that lead to them standing out in a scene already filled to the brim with outstanding young musicians. In the ‘90s, Mould formed a group called Sugar, which wasn’t quite as groundbreaking, but still made important waves in the music scene. While his songs were inspiring disaffected youths, Mould himself was watching WCW.
WWE may not be fans of Mould, but Jesse Ventura was, and that somehow got Mould a meeting with various Turner executives, and that meeting turned into a friendship. That friendship turned into a job when Mould became a member of the WCW writing team in 1999. Controversial WCW writer Vince Russo has called Mould’s hiring one of the most obvious bad decisions of the company, and though Russo isn’t very respected himself anymore, chances are WWE saw Mould’s tenure came at the same time as WCW’s first massive downfall, and they can put two and two together.
13 Bill Burr
Bill Burr is a standup comedian and actor currently best known as the creator and star of the Netflix series F Is For Family. Burr has been acclaimed for his standup for over a decade, although he self-deprecatingly describes himself as “the loud guy in the bar.” Outside of his own show, Burr has also made appearances on such major TV shows as Breaking Bad, New Girl, and Kroll Show. Throughout it all, he’s also been the host of Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast, which he uses to muse on whatever enters his oft-abrasive and hilarious mind. One of the topics that occasionally passes through is professional wrestling.
Bill Burr might talk about wrestling as some of the others on the list, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t fanatical about the parts of wrestling he does like. Burr used an episode of his podcast to break down the infamous match between The Great Antonio and Antonio Inoki, admiring Inoki’s presence as looking like a movie star and wrestling icon. Burr has also mentioned in interviews he believes Ric Flair is one of the funniest people ever to live. There are definitely comparisons to be made between a good heel promo and good standup, and Burr could lend his talents as a writer or even his stature as a performer, but it seems WWE isn’t interested. It’s worth noting Burr was also good friends with Patrice O’Neal, who actually did write for WWE in contrast to everyone on this list.
12 Norm Macdonald
Norm Macdonald is a comedian and actor most famous for his time as the host of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live during the mid ‘90s. His acerbic, sarcastic, and ironic approach to comedy turned him into an instant cult figure, and subsequent success in films like Dirty Work and on his sitcom Norm proved he would carry a loyal and considerable audience anywhere he went. That audience rarely translated to massive mainstream success, but Norm definitely has his legion of fans, and his most ardent followers know that above all else, Norm is a huge sports fan. He might be more into the more traditional sports, but professional wrestling has definitely been part of his viewing schedule.
Norm briefly hosted Sports Show With Norm Macdonald and would occasionally mention John Cena and his only Patriotic when appropriate nature, but his true wrestling fandom came when he was a younger man living in Canada. While interviewing Adam Sandler, who appeared on SmackDown in 2000, Norm regaled his audience with tales of his favorite childhood wrestling memories. Sandler claimed Norm once told him he wanted to be “the Freddie Blassie of comedy,” but Norm named his own favorites as Dick the Bruiser and Édouard Carpentier. Either way, it seems Norm’s days as a fan are behind him, and WWE probably isn’t interested on his ironic observations on the subject regardless.
11 Rick Rubin
Rick Rubin isn’t necessarily an instantly recognizable figure, but he’s arguably one of the most important producers in music history. Rubin co-founded Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons, and at one point was the Co-President of Columbia Records. Rubin helped discover and popularize hip hop icons including the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Run-D.M.C. and he also was the first producer for pioneering metal groups like Slayer. Later in his career, Rubin branched out to other genres and became a superstar producer, working with names like Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, and Kanye West. Seemingly completely unrelated to his success, Rubin also claims few things in life inspired him more than professional wrestling.
Rubin has been a fan his entire life, idolizing ‘70s superstars like “Superstar” Billy Graham and Ivan Putski, and he remains a fan to this day appearing in the audience at every WWE event he can attend. Despite this, WWE has never officially reached out to him to even appear on camera, let alone possibly add his production skills to help a special superstar create a legendary entrance theme. Rubin has no dearth of people to help him out either, not only thanks to his legendary Rolodex, but because quite a few of them are fans, too…
10 Beastie Boys
One of Rick Rubin’s biggest success stories was the Beastie Boys. Beastie Boys formed in the early 1980s as a hardcore punk band, and quickly morphed into one of the most important groups in hip-hop history. Their debut full length album Licensed to Ill was the first rap album to reach the number one spot on the Billboard charts, and their following eight albums all stand as sterling examples of the best music of its style and era. Member MCA tragically passed away due to throat cancer in 2012, but Ad-Rock and Mike D live on. They’ve worked with the aforementioned Rubin since the start, and part of what brought them together is their shared and obsessive love of professional wrestling.
Rubin claimed that when he and the Boys were first cultivating their image, they would call wrestling hotlines and listen to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s promos to get inspired by the madness he would often descend into. Even before they were famous, an early SPIN profile claimed the group would spend all their time not talking about music but rather wrestling. Their abrasive attitude helped them become superstars, and although the group is no longer performing together in lieu of MCA’s death, they could still contribute something with their image and fame.
9 Kerry King of Slayer
Kerry King and his band Slayer are to thrash metal what the Beastie Boys were to rap. Slayer’s 1986 album Reign in Blood, also produced by Rick Rubin, redefined harshness and speed in the metal community and created an enduring reputation that stands today as one of the most hardcore and intense bands in music. Slayer have released 12 albums that all stand as testaments to the power of longevity and sticking with what works, and King himself has also made guest appearances on songs by groups like Beastie Boys, Pantera, Rob Zombie, and Sum 41. His love of wrestling inspired him throughout it all.
Perhaps not surprisingly considering his hardcore style, King prefers the more violent types of wrestling, as well. King calls himself a big wrestling fan of the general variety, but the only time he actually appeared in or near a ring was for the short-lived ultraviolent promotion Xtreme Pro Wrestling. King was the guest ring announcer for XPW Baptized In Blood 2000, introducing a match between Supreme and John Kronus. He even got into a slight tiff with regular XPW announcer Kris Kloss, who incorrectly identified as Slayer's singer, when he is in fact the guitarist. Perhaps WWE simply isn’t hardcore enough for King, or maybe King’s bloody and Satanic imagery is too hardcore for WWE.
8 Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is one of the most respected German filmmakers of all time. His classic films such as Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo examine the fragile relationship between man and nature, and the gradual descent into madness any man who attempts to take on nature seems to inevitably fall into. Werner has more recently become a pop culture figure for his thoughtful voice, narrating his documentaries and making guest appearances on popular cartoons. He also likes watching dudes body slam each other, and has more than once spoken about his love of WrestleMania.
Herzog is the last person most WWE fans would expect to show up, but imagine the weight a feud would instantly receive if Herzog was the one to introduce their hype video. Having him offer his thoughts on a major WrestleMania match would also feel epic in and of itself, elevating the entire event with his association. However, WWE has never asked him to get involved with them, even if he could revolutionize the business with the ultimate feud between man and nature. Herzog already has plenty in common with Vince McMahon, as he purports to consume very little pop culture outside of his love of sports entertainment.
7 Arsenio Hall
Arsenio Hall is an actor and comedian best known for his syndicated talk show. Arsenio’s energetic and colorful personality made him standout in a sea of white bread and cliché talk show hosts, and his gleeful enthusiasm often transferred to his guests to create some of the coolest and most unique talk show interviews of the era. His show briefly revived in 2013, but was quickly canceled due to low ratings. In film, Arsenio has repeatedly worked with Eddie Murphy, co-starring in Coming To America and Harlem Nights. Like many talk show hosts, Arsenio interviewed plenty of wrestlers, but his enthusiasm excelled past their usual fervor.
David Letterman hosted the most famous wrestling interview of all time, but Arsenio might have the record for the most per capita wrestling appearances, especially given his short tenure on the air. Hulk Hogan, Bad News Brown, The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Sensational Sherri, and countless others popped up on The Arsenio Hall Show to continue and promote their ongoing storylines. Arsenio would regularly get in arguments with heels and play along with their characters, always comically backing away as soon as the heel became aggressive. Considering how many minor celebrities have ended up doing silly bits at WrestleMania, it’s strange one of the masters at it has never been asked.
6 John Darnielle
John Darnielle is the primary member of the indie folk band The Mountain Goats. The Mountain Goats have released 15 albums since 1994, all receiving consistently high praise from critics and loyal cult fans, as well. Darnielle in particular is considered one of the greatest lyricists of his generation, with his deeply personal and emotional songs taking listeners on journeys into imaginative lives, some real and some fake. It may not be instantly apparent, but this somehow connects Darnielle to the world of sports entertainment.
The lead singer of The Mountain Goats is a soft and gentle person, so he probably wouldn’t want to get into any fights himself. John Darnielle did, however, write an entire album about how much he loves professional wrestling, and somehow WWE didn’t even find a way to even sneak a reference to it into their social media outlets. The Mountain Goats’ 2015 album Beat The Champ documents Darnielle’s time visiting small shows in the Southwest territories of the 70s and 80s. Some of his favorite wrestlers as documented in his songs were Chavo Guerrero, Luna Vachon, and Bruiser Brody. He could write an epic saga for NXT, but chances are he’s too quiet to be asked.
5 Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is world renowned as probably the greatest songwriter of all time. Songs including “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ In The Wind” are inexorably etched within the walls of popular culture, and albums like Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde remain starting points for any serious record collectors starting to get interested in the history of popular music. Dylan’s status as a cultural icon and historian was cemented as early as his second record was released in 1963, and it continues to grow ever stronger to this day as he continues his Never Ending Tour in the wake of his 37th album, Fallen Angels.
Dylan’s interest in professional fighting is documented in at least two of his famous songs, “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and “Hurricane.” Lesser known is the fact while Dylan was a teenager he was a big fan of the legendary wrestler Gorgeous George. Dylan wrote about meeting George as a teenager in his autobiography, Chronicles Volume One. George happened to catch one of Dylan’s earliest shows at a small town in Minnesota, and the legendary grappler allegedly told Dylan, “You’re making it come alive” after viewing his performance. Dylan says the acclaim from such a bombastic and larger than life figure was all the inspiration he needed, and without any question, Dylan giving any praise to a young wrestler would probably be all they need now. It’s completely likely, though, that Dylan has moved on from wrestling, and his reclusive nature means WWE probably just doesn’t see the need to invite obvious rejection.
4 Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick is a standup comedian and a growing entertainment mogul, as the host of a variety of talk shows and the CEO of Nerdist Industries. Hardwick has turned the idea of being a massive fan of pop culture into a career of its own, embracing his brand as a nerd to host discussion shows about current TV hits including Talking Dead and Talking Bad. Hardwick’s comedic influences shine through on his late-night game show @midnight, where comedians compete to see who can make the best and fastest jokes about the Internet's famous topics of the day. Another thing nerds have been embracing these days is pro wrestling, and Hardwick is no different.
Hardwick has done his part in promoting wrestling by having some of his favorites appear on his shows, including Chris Jericho and CM Punk. Punk and Hardwick are actually so close that Punk chose the Nerdist podcast as his first interview after being fired from WWE in 2014 (although wrestling wasn't discussed). It’s perhaps due to the unending bad blood associated with Punk that in spite of Hardwick’s obvious skills as an announcer for virtually anything, WWE seemingly hasn’t approached Hardwick about talking wrestling on the WWE Network or elsewhere. But even Hardwick has nothing on one of his regular guests…
3 Ron Funches
Ron Funches is one of the funniest and fastest rising standup comedians in America. He holds the record for the most wins on @midnight, has written for Kroll Show and The Eric Andre Show and was a regular cast member on NBC’s Undateable for three seasons. Although his sitcom was recently canceled, Funches' star continues to be on the rise, with an upcoming role voicing a character in DreamWorks Trolls poised to raise his profile even further. Funches gleeful standup covers a range of nerdy and silly pop culture fascinations, and high on the list of his personal interests is professional wrestling.
Funches has flaunted his love of wrestling in many of his @midnight appearances, once even crafting a title belt for himself to celebrate his status as the most frequent winner of the show. Funches also regularly tweets his thoughts on wrestling events, often praising New Day and members of the NXT roster for their incredible matches. Funches' personality doesn’t exactly lend itself into terror or any form of serious competition really, but his humor could certainly help some of the people he’s a huge fan of, and though he’s only a rising star, any crossover appeal is usually wanted by WWE.
2 Gillian Jacobs
Gillian Jacobs is a beautiful actress best known for her supporting role in NBC’s Community and her starring role on the current Netflix series Love. Jacobs has also made appearances on other major TV shows including Fringe, Girls, and Adventure Time, as well as starring in films like Walk of Shame and the upcoming Don’t Think Twice. Jacobs beauty and impeccable comic timing makes her a standout of everything she appears in, and her magnetic personality ensure her star will only continue to rise as she’s offered more and more films and TV shows.
Despite her own growing fame, Gillian Jacobs’ interest in professional wrestling is more understated. While the exact habits of the people on our list aren’t known, we assume for the most part they’ve been fans of WWE and other major companies. Jacobs, on the other hand, claims mostly to be a fan of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a small independent federation based in California. PWG has recently made waves for discovering current WWE stars such as Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, not to mention having been a common stomping ground for A.J. Styles before he became a superstar. While Jacobs says she’s happy for the wrestlers who went on to bigger success, it seems like she’s sticking with PWG, so even if WWE did make her some kind of offer to make an appearance, she might turn them down.
1 Emma Stone
Emma Stone is quickly becoming one of the most respected comedic and dramatic film actresses of her generation. She’s already been nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in Birdman, and appearances in Superbad, The Help, and The Amazing Spider-Man are proving she is as versatile as she was prepared to enter the mainstream spotlight at a young age. Stone is taking on more and more projects as her celebrity rises, and has at least three films currently in the works. She might be a bit too busy to simply relax and enjoy the show these days, but she was certainly able to do so in 2011 when she and a slew of other celebrities casually attended WrestleMania 26.
Stone attended the event with Kieran Culkin, sitting directly behind the announce desk the entire night. She wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance, as some of her companions in the front row included actors Seth Green, Clark Duke, Rob Corddry, and Freddie Prinze, Jr. Out of that group, both Seth Green and Freddie Prinze have engaged in extended relationships with WWE, but none of the others were even mentioned on screen the night they stood inches away from the announcers. Given that snub, it seems impossible they’d ask Emma or any of the others to actually do something on camera.
Sources: Rolling Stone