From Vader to Rob Van Dam, The Rock to Billy Gunn, wrestlers have made some amazing guest appearances on sitcoms over the years – here are some of our favorites, along with the valuable life lessons you should take away from each one.
Here to wallow in nostalgia with you are site regulars @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett. Apologies for some of the video links being crappy quality or hosted on weird streaming sites, but YouTube has been ruthless in removing a lot of these historic moments from public consumption.
Vader on Boy Meets World
The loveable Cory Matthews joins the school wrestling team in hopes of creating a legacy. He defeats high Frankie Stecchino’s partner-in-bullying Joey ‘The Rat’ Epstein in a regulated match. This leads to an UN-sanctioned rematch after school hours as Griff (now known in 2013 as Ben Wyatt on Parks and Rec) books a show and promotes it.
Griff gets celebrities Robert Goulet and Yasmine Bleeth to appear. Frankie and his dad, Vader, join Joey the Rat making it 3 vs. 1. As it looks bleak for Cory, Mr. Feeny appears and shuts down Vader to save Mr. Matthews. It’s revealed that Vader’s kayfabe real name was Leslie.
Adam Scott/Ben Wyatt/School Hooligan Griff is such a joy in this episode. He represents every shady wrestling promoter except more savvy. The match itself was better worked than the main event of Wrestlemania 27.
WE LOVE VADER. He’s honestly pretty incredible in all his Boy Meets World appearances and it’s amazing that they made him a recurring character. Between this and his appearance in ‘Fist of the North Star‘, the mid-90s truly was Vader time.
Lesson learned: Cory vs. The Vader Family drew more fans than the average indie show.
Frankie Stecchino has reformed from his bullying ways and is now a sensitive poet who just wants to connect more with father. As previously noted though, his father happens to be the mastodon Vader. Frankie asks wrestling fan Cory Matthews to help by attending one of Vader’s matches ringside with Frankie. It also happens to be Cory’s girlfriend Topanga’s Sweet 16 birthday party on the same night.
Cory pulls a Fred Flintstone and tries to be in both places at once. Vader defeats Jake Roberts with the help of Cory, Frankie and Shawn Hunter. The episode ends with Cory and Topanga slow dancing in the ring of an empty arena.
I love how Cory and Shawn are just allowed at ringside and more so how Cory ditched his love to help out a kid who bullied him for years. This was WAY worse than the Lauren ski lodge incident, BMW fanatics.
Lesson learned: An empty wrestling arena is strangely romantic.
Mankind on Boy Meets World
This is from the final season of ‘Boy Meets World’, when pretty much everybody stopped caring and things got very weird on a regular basis. Eric and Jack need a referee for their wrestling match against the girls to decide who gets the apartment, so Mankind bursts through the door. No further explanation is given or required!
The boys are soon defeated, and then there’s a scene during the credits where Mick Foley gets freaked out by the Backstreet Boys / teaches the guys a valuable lesson about bullying (i.e. there’s nothing they can do about it but he will let them choose their form of punishment).
Lesson learned: Mick Foley’s favorite Backstreet Boy is Brian.
The Hardy Boyz, Ken Shamrock and The Rock on That ’70s Show
Another sitcom wrestling episode where a father and son can’t get along but attempt to bond with the magic of professional wrestling. Father Red Forman and son Eric Forman end up having a fun time together at a wrestling show.
The Rock had a great role as his father Rocky Johnson in which he gives an autograph to Eric (Red forced him to sign it to “Red”) and The Hardys and Ken Shamrock played the memorable roles as Wrestler #1, Wrestler #2 and Wrestler #3.
Lesson learned: ‘That ’70s Show’ show-runners knew The Rock had the acting chops to have a speaking role and the other wrestlers didn’t.
Kevin Nash on Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Playing a giant warlord, Kevin Nash appears from “the other realm” out of Sabrina’s closet and looks to murder her. After a skirmish, they both realize it’s a misunderstanding and Big Sexy just had the wrong address. He apologizes, she throws his weapon for him to catch it on the way out and it injures him. The end.
Lesson learned: ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ was responsible for Kevin Nash tearing his quad for the first time. Also, this video is named “Melissa Joan Hart lookin’ cute” which is pretty creepy.
Billy Gunn on Sabrina the Teenage Witch
As Xavier ‘The Avenger’ Prescott in the other realm, Billy Gunn wrestles Sabrina in a wrestling match. Sabrina’s cat Salem interferes and helps Sabrina roll up Prescott for the win.
This had to have happened during those few glorious months when Billy Gunn seemed to be on the fast track to main event superstardom, what with him being King of the Ring and feuding with The Rock.
Fortunately, common sense prevailed and he was soon back in the mid-card, with only this guest appearance on Sabrina as evidence that a Billy Gunn push wasn’t all some mad dream.
Lesson learned: There’s a possibility for Dolph Ziggler to job to Melissa Joan Hart in the near future.
Scott Steiner, Booker T and Buff Bagwell on Charmed
Not technically a sitcom, but definitely worth covering. This is my first time watching this, so I have zero understanding what the context is. However, my life definitely feels richer for having seen Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano get suplexed by Booker T and Scott Steiner while Buff Bagwell and Ron ‘Hellboy’ Perlman chuckle on the outside.
Booker and Big Poppa Pump ultimately get pinned and sent to hell, which was still probably a more enjoyable experience for them than their later feuds / burials with Triple H.
Lesson learned: Scott Steiner belongs on prime time television.
The Bushwhackers on Family Matters
Carl Winslow’s pro wrestler friends ‘The Psycho Twins’ accidentally drink Steve Urkel’s invention of “snooze juice” and are knocked out before their match. To cover for his friends, Carl and Urkel wear the Psycho Twins gear/masks and wrestle the match for them.
The dilemma was that their opponents The Bushwhackers found out Carl was a cop (they REALLY hate cops) and things went awry. The match ends with Eddie Winslow hitting the ring to save his dad and the entire crowd jumping in causing a huge melee.
I remember watching this and HATING The Bushwhackers for years because of it. Don’t mess with Steven Q. Urkel or you’re messing with me.
Lesson learned: The Bushwhackers’ hatred of police officers will cause them to break kayfabe.
Rey Mysterio on Heroes (kind of)
Should this count? Well, Rey Mysterio doesn’t actually show up in the show outside of on a TV screen and it’s not a sitcom, so no, probably not. However, I really like the idea that a 619 could ever be used in a real-life fight, so it makes the cut.
Lesson learned: Proof that they should include lucha moves in self defence classes.
Goldberg on The Man Show
A couple of loveable sexists join Bill Goldberg to explain Hannukah to the masses. No, this one isn’t a sitcom either, but whatever. I never watched ‘The Man Show’ when it was on, but it seems to be the predecessor to all those terrible ‘Things Guys Say’ Twitter accounts, so that’s enough for me to hate it a lot.
There’s a ‘Hulk Hogan needs viagara joke’ mixed in with all the casual homophobia and gags about wrestlers being angry / loud, and then Goldberg beats up Santa Claus.
Lesson learned: Still better than ‘Eight Crazy Nights’.
King Kong Bundy on Married With Children
Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) asks King Kong Bundy “how’d it clanging, man?” and Bundy FREAKS OUT, possibly because he doesn’t know how else to respond to having his clanging questioned.
More stuff happens, culminating in a match between Buddy and Bundy at ‘Wrestle Palooza’. Weirdly, the ECW Wrestlepalooza show took place just a couple of months before this aired. Yet another example of Paul Heyman’s ideas getting ripped off for mainstream success? We’ll have to wait for yet another ECW retrospective documentary to find out!
Also, all the women at home start getting super horny while watching wrestling because that’s definitely a thing that happens in real life.
Lesson learned: *SOUND OF A TOILET FLUSHING, AUDIENCE CHEERS AND WOLF WHISTLES*
Rob Van Dam on City Guys
High school student El-Train is offered the opportunity to work as a professional wrestler teaming with Rob Van Dam. While training, he spends less time doing volunteer work with underprivileged kids. While seeing one of the kids who look up to him behave badly during his match, El-Train quits the wrestling industry.
This is THE best wrestling sitcom guest appearance of all time. City Guys is the most underrated show of our generation. C-I-T-Y, you can see why.
My first exposure to RVD! I can’t even begin to guess how this happened, but it confirms ‘City Guys’ as the coolest high school sitcom of the ’90s. ‘Saved By The Bell’ would have gone WWF, ‘California Dreams’ would have been WCW but, in a beautiful example of #branding #synergy, C-I-T-Y was all about the E-C-Dub.
Lesson learned: Rob Van Dam is a poor influence on high school students.