Celebrities and professional wrestling pretty much go hand in hand. While the athletes of World Wrestling Entertainment are stars themselves, quite a few Hollywood personnel and sports stars have made their way into the squared circle. The long list includes the names of Regis Philbin, Donald Trump, Ozzy Osbourne, Lawrence Taylor, LL Cool, Betty White and so forth. For a while, Monday Night Raw ran a storyline where they would have a different guest host every week which would produce hit or miss results. Some appearances from Hollywood’s big wigs though never get mentioned. That’s why I’m here today! Let’s take a walk through the most obscure celebrity cameos in the zany world that is professional wrestling.
10.) Ben Stiller (WWE Monday Night Raw, July 26th, 1999)
Photo credit: WWE.com
Ben Stiller is one of the biggest household names in comedy. As the son of actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Stiller is no stranger to performing in front of a live crowd and being as ridiculous as one can be. During the height of WWE’s popularity, Stiller was invited to enter the ring on an episode of Monday Night Raw for a segment with Jeff Jarrett. After Stiller yaked on about his new movie, the critically panned Mystery Men, he proclaimed that his favorite superstars were the “puppies” (WWE slang for women’s breasts). When he turned his attention to Jarrett’s valet, the scantily clad Debra Marshall, he was brutally attacked from by Double J before being saved by D’Lo Brown. In the hilarious conclusion, the tiny Stiller was carried to the locker room by the massive Brown while pumping his fist and chanting “puppies”. It’s odd given the size of his star that Stiller’s wrestling appearance barely gets a mention these days. WWE did shout it out on their website not too long ago, though, so that’s good.
9.) Mario Lopez (WWE Sunday Night Heat, August 2nd, 1998)
The Saved by the Bell icon tried to carve a decent career for himself at the conclusion of the early 90’s cultural phenomenon. After starring in a made-for-tv film about Olympic diver, Greg Louganis, he finally found steady work with a starring role on the USA network cop drama, Pacific Blue. USA was also the home of Monday Night Raw so a lot of wrestlers made guest appearances on Pacific Blue (including a prolific two-part episode starring the Heartbreak Kid himself, Shawn Michaels!). Now it was time for the stars of the crime series to mix it up with the combatants of WWE. During the debut episode of WWE’s new program, Sunday Night Heat, Val Venis, wrestling porn star and one of the most controversial characters of the Attitude Era, shoved Lopez, who sat at ringside. Lopez took exception to this and while Venis was showing off in front of his co-star, Amy Hunter, the ex-Bayside Tiger jumped the security rail and began wailing on Val before security broke them up. It showed a badass side of Lopez that was rarely seen before and honestly, made never be seen again.
8.) Terry Crews (WCW Monday Nitro, November 11th, 2000)
The former NFL star has made quite a name for himself in film and television but the transition from defensive end to big screen jokester wasn’t as smooth as you might think. Following the dissolution of his football career, Crews starred as T-Money, a watered down version of his current on-screen persona, on Battle Dome, a competition program that blended themes from professional wrestling and American Gladiators. The show aired on UPN and featured Gladiator-like competitions with the over the top personas only found inside the ring. The whole show was extremely cheesy and overall pretty bad but that didn’t stop World Championship Wrestling from attempting a crossover program between Battle Dome and their roster. On a live taping of Nitro, the Battle Dome contestants, headed by Crews, attempted to enter the backstage area of the arena but were denied by security. They re-appeared later in the program and heckled several wrestlers from the front row causing a big brawl between both brands. It continued weeks later with Rick Steiner calling T-Money out which lead to Steiner appearing on Battle Dome. This was as far as the feud between the two sides got. Battle Dome was axed not too long after and WCW themselves went under just four months later.
7.) David Koechner (WWE Monday Night Raw November 15th, 1999)
WHAMMY! The Anchorman star had humble beginnings in the acting world just like most headliners. Could you believe that one of his very first post-Saturday Night Live appearances was playing a character on WWE television? In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, WWE had a long winded battle with the PTC (Parents Television Council) over the content of their programming. In an effort to mock them, Koechner was hired to play a nameless picketer who constantly held up signs decrying WWE’s behavior. One particular incident was during a match between wrestling pimp, the Godfather and Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle. After shoving one of his signs in Godfather’s face, it was furiously snatched away by the pimp daddy and torn apart before Angle capitalized on the distraction and won. It was the last we ever saw of Koechner in wrestling and funnily enough, it took years for fans to put two and two together and realize it was even him! He went on to make a big name for himself in film years after the storyline ended so fortunately, his career didn’t die in WWE. Of course appearing on a wrestling program beats being in Waiting… if you ask me.
6.) Aaron and Nick Carter (WWE Smackdown, October 26th, 2006)
Photo credit: www.eonline.com
In the late 2000’s after Nick Carters’ singing group, Backstreet Boys, had a comeback and his brother, Aaron, had hit puberty, a reality show was created about their family on the E! network called House of Carters. To help draw attention to it, The Carter brothers appeared on Smackdown to judge a dance contest between the Divas. The competition was hosted by former WWE champ, The Miz, who was pretty green at this point having been in the WWE for less than year. After some swipes exchanged by the Carters and Miz, the boogying began. Like most vignettes involving women on WWE television, it all ended with the Divas fighting.
5.) Tiny Tim (WCW Monday Night Raw, July 19th, 1993)
The ukulele master himself appeared on an early edition of Monday Night Raw just a few years before his untimely death in 1996. Jerry “The King” Lawler, one of the greatest wrestling villains of all time and now a celebrated color commentator for WWE hosted an interview segment in the early 90’s entitled King’s Court. On this particular episode, Tim was looking to plug his upcoming radio program before the fans hijacked the interview by chanting “We Want Bret” referring to Bret Hart, Lawer’s rival at the time. Lawler mocks Tim who responds by calling him the “Dairy Queen”. In a fit of rage, King smashes Tim’s cherished ukulele while the Tiny Man bends over pretending to cry. I don’t know if this segment succeeded in making Lawler more hated by the WWE fans since 90% of WWE’s demographic at the time had no clue who Tiny Tim was. Hell, I sure didn’t know who he was but to be fair, I was only seven at the time. Tiny Tim appearing on the King’s Court is one of my earliest memories of wrestling, so it’ll always have that going for me.
4.) John Wayne Bobbitt (WWE Monday Night Raw, August 10th, 1998)
Anyone who was paying attention in the early 90’s knows the name John Wayne Bobbitt. John was an average American Joe who was having marital problems with his wife, Lorena. Late one night, after an altercation between the two, Lorena grabbed a knife while John was sleeping and hacked off his penis. A highly publicized court battle between the couple left John broke and struggling to make ends meet. He then began a career in pornography where he showed off his reattached love gun before fading into obscurity, living in Las Vegas and working day jobs. Bobbitt unexpectedly resurfaced on WWE programming in 1998 appearing alongside (who else?) Val Venis during an episode of Monday Night Raw. The story here was Venis was feuding with the Japanese stable, Kaientai, who attempted to castrate Venis after he was caught in bed with the wife of their leader, Yamaguchi-San. After Venis was attacked and held in place by the fighters from the land of the rising sun, Yamaguchi swung a sword towards Venis’ member when suddenly the lights went out. Bobbitt came out on Raw the next week and was revealed as the man who killed the lights, allowing Venis to suffer shrinkage and escape the sharp blow. Bobbitt showing up was completely out of left field and wasn’t announced beforehand. I certainly had no clue who he was at the time but alas, Bobbitt was able to grab a payday while poking (see what I did there?) fun at himself.
3.) Billy Corgan (ECW on TNN, July 28th, 2000)
Photo credit: WWE.com
The lead singer of the multi-platinum selling rock band, The Smashing Pumpkins, has always been an outspoken fan of professional wrestling. Today, in addition to his music, he actually runs his own independent wrestling promotion out of Chicago, Resistance Pro Wrestling. A lot of fans however do not remember Corgan’s brief on-air foray into the wrestling world since it didn’t happen in WWE or WCW…but the rebel Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion. Following the announcement that the Pumpkins were disbanding in late 2000, Corgan appeared in the ring during an episode of ECW on TNN about to give a special acoustic performance but was interrupted by Paul Heyman knock-off, Lou E. Dangerously. The outspoken trash talker verbally abused Corgan, his music, and stated that his band was leaving him because of his ego. Corgan responded by smashing Dangerously in the head with his guitar to the roar of the crowd. The Everlasting Gaze blared through the arena and the tall, lanky frontman stood tall. As a Pumpkins fan, this was pretty damn random but freakin’ awesome at the same time!
2.) Kurt Russell (WCW Monday Nitro, May 1st, 2000)
Sadly, the black eye that is David Arquette: WCW Champion, will never be forgotten in the annals of professional wrestling. One interesting moment was produced from the blunder, though. An episode of Nitro in 2000 cold opened with Arquette rocking his championship belt on the set of his then-latest flick, 3000 Miles to Graceland. After his wife at the time, Courteney Cox, tries to talk him out of wrestling, we then go to the arena for some rasslin’. Another segment aired later in the show where Arquette’s co-star, the legendary Kurt Russell, intervened with the happy couple to mock Arquette’s victory, treating it like the joke it really was. While the cameo was very brief, it accomplished the novelty of Russell appearing on wrestling television and reminding the audience that Arquette was a joke.
1.) Chris Rock (NWA: TNA, October 9th, 2002)
The big celebrities always seem to make their way to WWE but one of the most popular comics in the world actually had his sole wrestling appearance in Total Nonstop Action, a small wrestling company based in Alabama in its formative years. At the time, TNA was only seen in weekly pay-per-view installments but scored major exposure when the promotion was featured in Rock’s 2002 film, Head of State. To promote the film, Rock himself actually appeared on a TNA pay-per-view and participated in an in-ring interview and declared that TNA was the best wrestling in America. Rock sounded really bored and looked like he would rather be anywhere else. Still though, TNA to this day milks his appearance for all its worth. I’m just happy Rock didn’t lace up a pair of wrestling boots for the occasion.
Credit to Wrestlesite.com for feature image.