Welcome to Seven Things, a list that will run weekly and consist of very eclectic topics. These are of my opinions and doesn’t express the views of others on WrestlingOnEarth.
When reading through one of our prior posts about the Unlikely Celebrity Wrestling Fans, I started to think about the best and the worst celebrities or use of them in wrestling. I wrote a top seven for both but decided to go with the positive list first. Here’s the 7 Best Celebrities In Wrestling.
7. Insane Clown Posse
Let me start off by saying I don’t like the I.C.P. I don’t understand the culture nor do I personally enjoy it but I have to be fair. The Insane Clown Posse has been all over the wrestling climate with runs in ECW, WWF, WCW, TNA and starting their own promotion Juggalo Championship Wrestling.
In WWF, they were with The Oddities and helped a group of terrible, goofy wrestlers get somewhat over with the crowd. One my favorite oddball wrestling memories is The Oddities vs. Kai En Tai at Summerslam 1999. Their performance to the ring had MSG, a crowd known for shitting on things they dislike, waiving their hands in the air and cheering on.
On the flip side in WCW, they wrestled more matches and actually kind of held their own. A few matches teaming with Vampiro vs. Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman and Eddie Guerrero come to mind of being very entertaining matches. Good by normal standards, great for matches involving celebrity talent. Obviously that is more indicative of the work by Rey, Eddie and Kidman but not taking away from those guys is also a difficult task for a non-wrestler.
6. Bob Barker
Bob Barker made an appearance on RAW during the celebrity guest host of the week era and he was probably the best of the celebrity choices. Barker has a great humor and showmanship that he showcased. Pun intended.
Most memorable was the hilarious Price Is Right opening segment when he went toe to toe with heel Chris Jericho on the mic and held his own more than most of the roster would. Backstage, he delivered some karate chops to Chavo Guerrero, providing the most entertaining Chavo moment of the 21st century.
When you Google search for Robocop’s WCW moment, you are greeted with many writings about how this was the worst moment in wrestling history, how it killed pro wrestling and how it exposed the business. Maybe it’s because I’m a little younger than most of the people who say that and I grew up in a time where wrestling was okay with being known as entertainment but I don’t understand the high levels of hate at all.
At the time, wrestling was overrun with cartoonish gimmicky characters and overall silliness and Robocop was of the same genre. Was it foolish and cheesy? Yes! But that’s part of the charm of 90’s wrestling.
Looking at the card of Capital Combat: The Return of Robocop, Teddy Long wrestling a match seems like a much worse decision than Robocop. Don’t take it so seriously. I’m sure Robocop would provide more compelling television on RAW than Randy Orton these days…
4. Dennis Rodman
At the time, the NBA was on fire with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls as the top team. Dennis Rodman was the most controversial personality in basketball and one of the most controversial people in all of entertainment. Many viewed him as a disgrace to the sport of basketball for his side show antics despite his talent and performance. The NWO brought the same mentality and culture clash to wrestling that made this a perfect fit.
As a kid, my two loves were wrestling and the NBA. Many of the kids in my school and relatives would show a new interest in wrestling due to Rodman appearing. The point of a celebrity in wrestling was to get new eyes or interest into the show and The Worm did just that.
His matches weren’t the best to watch but seeing him drop elbows over and over on an unconscious The Giant is a beautiful sight to look back on today. At one point, he even worked the Malone WCW PPV angle during the NBA finals! You can hear Bob Costas’ heart fall apart as it happens here.
3. Floyd Mayweather
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is one of the most successful athletes of our generation. Even more noteworthy than his undefeated record in boxing or star power to generate record breaking amounts of money for a dying sport is his ability to generate hate. This was no different in WWE.
A big WWE fan, Mayweather agreed to wrestle at Wrestlemania 24 vs. a returning Big Show. I remember strongly disliking the idea at the time and eventually rooting for the Big Show to win, all due to Mayweather being that much of a natural heel. The entire program was well done and was one of the cooler “spectacles” at Wrestlemania in the last decade.
I think Floyd will be back in WWE after his boxing career ends due to his friendship with Triple H, desire for the spotlight of money & fame and for the wrestling fan in him. When it does happen, I can honestly see that sparking the next “boom” in the wrestling business. Characters and special talents like Floyd Mayweather are rare to find in sports or entertainment so it only makes sense he’s perfect for the WWE sports entertainment world.
2. Pete Rose
This one is just pure fun. Pete Rose’s appearances in WWE with Kane as his arch nemesis is one of the most underrated humorous stories in wrestling history. Starting with Wrestlemania 14, Rose cut an amazing heel promo on the Boston crowd that led to a Kane Tombstone Piledriver.
Even better was Wrestlemania 16 where Rose dressed as the San Diego Chicken in an attempt to attack Kane. Of course, Kane got the upper hand and delivered another Tombstone. Think about that. One of the best baseball players of all time dressed in a chicken costume taking a Tombstone from Kane.
If I didn’t just search his age and found out Rose was 72 (yikes!), I’d want to see him get one more shot vs. Kane. It’s definitely my favorite Kane feud. Pete Rose is one WWE Hall of Fame celebrity wing selection I support!
1. Mike Tyson
For a sport that has been on the decline in both time frames, it’s amazing that two boxers have topped the list. Mike Tyson was one of the most polarizing names in sports and entertainment at the time. WWF was on the cusp of hitting their peak. Stone Cold Steve Austin was becoming the biggest star in wrestling. Wrestlemania season was here. It was a perfect storm.
I’ll never forget the night Mike Tyson first appeared on RAW. I was only 8 at the time but even I knew certain celebrities or big names were above being made to look a fool or wouldn’t play a large role in the action. I assumed Tyson was one of them but how wrong I was. I contribute the moment of Steve Austin shoving Mike Tyson and giving him the middle finger salute as a huge brawl ensued as THE moment that put WWF over the top. I’d change back and forth between RAW and Nitro consistently but around this time, WWF took full priority again. Looking back, I don’t think WCW had a chance after this night. The WWF momentum just kept growing to the point where it couldn’t be stopped.
The entire angle was so well done. The intensity that Tyson and his crew showed in the “worked” atmosphere of pro wrestling just made you wonder and everyone was talking about Wrestlemania 14. Even the DX heel turn and screwy swerve with Tyson knocking out Shawn Michaels (with no explanation, mind you) provided a memorable moment and helped get even more eyes on Steve Austin’s big moment.
Years later, Tyson returned as a guest host and knocked out Chris Jericho to make amends with DX. Much less memorable or important, it was still a cool moment. I couldn’t go with anyone but Mike Tyson as the best celebrity used in wrestling.
-Come back next week for the Seven Worst Celebrities In Wrestling and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @WrestlingEarth