, Jamie Lithgow
Showbiz Wrestling I have just watched King of The Ring 1994 for the very first time and there’s only one thing I will remember about that event; Art Donovan. He wasn’t a wrestler, he had nothing to do with wrestling and from what I could tell had never seen wrestling until this point. However, he managed to overcome all of those hurdles to become the celebrity guest commentator for the entire event! I urge everyone to catch some of the action from this event just to hear this guy, it’s priceless. He has no idea who any, and I mean any, of the wrestlers are. I can’t remember him actually making any statements, he asks plenty questions though! His most frequent being “hey Gorilla, who’s that guy?” Having sat through the whole show it did get annoying, but when you notice Macho Man and Gorilla Monsoon starting to completely blank him, because he’s bugging the tits off them presumably, it get’s funny again. The end of the event says it all; Macho Man and Monsoon are on camera wrapping things up and trying to make sense of what has transpired when our pal Art chimes in with some daft comment which both Savage and Monsoon totally ignore, priceless. So how did Art Donovan land this gig as commentator for the day? Simple, he’s famous outside of wrestling. He’s some sort of NFL legend by all accounts. Everyone knows that WWE is a whore to mainstream publicity, they’ll bend over backwards to get celebrities on WWE TV. Some of these celebs get what wrestling is about and that’s really cool. Mike Tyson, Mr T, Laurence Taylor, Pete Rose, Hugh Jackman, Freddie Prinze Jr, Floyd Mayweather Jr and even Snooki came in with the right spirit so fair play to them. It would be nice to see wrestlers get the upper hand a little more often when faced with a Hollywood actor but I won’t harsh too much on the good celebrity involvements because they really do reflect well on the WWE product as a whole. Now for the bad celebrity involvements! I’m not going to talk about how they damaged wrestler’s reputations and sullied WWE’s name, I’m really just interested in how cringe worthy and funny they were. First of all I need to branch out from WWE and go to WCW, although technically it’s all the same thing these days; David Arquette becomes WCW World Heavyweight Champion. You know that belt that Ric Flair made famous? Also worn by Sting, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Goldberg and inspired the belt Sheamus wears today? Well the guy from Scream won that in 1999 as means of promoting the film Ready to Rumble. Yep, that happened and there was nothing anybody, even Arquette himself, could do about it.
Staying with WCW and staying in 1999 we have KISS playing on Nitro to mark the debut of KISS inspired wrestler The Demon. I think I read somewhere that this was the lowest rated segment of Nitro ever, and that wouldn’t surprise me. Who thinks up this nonsense? Actually, I know the answer to that… Watch Diddy And Machine Gun Kelly Invade Wrestlemania http://www.prefixmag.com/news/watch-diddy-and-machine-gun-kelly-invade-wrestlema/63941/ Staying with the musical theme and having musicians perform on a show can be hit and miss. To ensure a hit WWE tries to stick to rock music or at least a home town act. However, at Wrestlemania this year WWE tried the opposite approach when that MGK chap performed. He was greeted with a wall of indifference/silence which turned to chorus of boos when he started banging on about John Cena being an underdog. Hopefully we won’t be seeing him again.
Jeremy Piven and Dr Ken as Raw guest hosts a couple of years ago, horrible, just horrible. To be fair I don’t recall Piven being too bad but that Dr Ken guy was awful, just annoying and overbearing the whole time. I wonder of it was planned or WWE was just thinking on its feet to have him attack and subsequently get roughed up by Cena? Either way he was annoying, very annoying. On the bright side, when Cena threw him outside the ring Carlito and Swagger didn’t catch him properly and he thumped his head off the ground, which the fans loudly cheered.
WWE Big Show vs. Akebono (Sumo Match) by joniamigo Akebono vs Big Show in a worked sumo match, at Wrestlemania no less. There were three major things wrong with this concept; nobody knew who Akebono was, nobody cares about sumo wrestling and nobody wants to see Big Show in a nappy. I only remembered about this when Cody Rhodes was doing his Wrestlemania promos on Big Show, until then it had been erased from my memory.
And finally we head back to WCW and instead of wrestlers we find basketball players and talk show hosts. At first the Dennis Rodman thing in WCW was alright, it worked because Rodman was, well, bonkers. Then Karl Malone come in and eventually at Road Wild 98 Jay Leno competed in, and won, a tag team match. If you don’t know who Jay Leno is he’s an American talk show host with a big chin. To be fair Leno was up for it so props to him, but I just find it ridiculous that America’s answer to Jonathan Ross had a match against Hulk Hogan!